Anger over private gipsy site plans

PEOPLE in an Essex village are to protest against new plans to create a private gypsy camp in their community.At the annual parish assembly of Marks Tey residents told councillors they objected to the proposals, which would see a 2.

PEOPLE in an Essex village are to protest against new plans to create a private gypsy camp in their community.

At the annual parish assembly of Marks Tey residents told councillors they objected to the proposals, which would see a 2.7 hectare field in nearby Little Tey fitted out with 12 permanent plots, each of which could take three caravans, and associated amenity buildings.

The plans were lodged with Colchester Borough Council last week by Ongar-based Smart Planning Limited, a firm of chartered town planners and landscape architects.

Speaking at last night'smeeting, Marks Tey Parish Council chairman Nigel Fitch said although members had no final say in the planning process they would be consulted and would make objections on the villagers' behalf.


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"The parish council does not have any answers or direct say in the matter, but we will take your representation forward to whoever does," he pledged.

The number of people attending the meeting was so large there was no room in the council chamber and so it was conducted outside on the green.

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Colin Trin, who lives in Marks Tey, said: "As a former police officer, I have worked in several areas where gypsies have visited.

"I can say categorically that crime has increased as a result of those gypsies being there."

Jennifer Nay, who lives at the end of Church Lane, in which the proposed site would be built, said: "Tomorrow a group of us are meeting with a solicitor to try and combat this. After that we are going to draw up a list of concerns and we will put it out to anybody involved."

Luke Deal said: "There are a number of us here tonight. I think we should ask our friends and neighbours to help stop this happening.

"You only have to see the one in Stanway. It's a disgrace. You need to get your friends to write in. If we don't, we have only ourselves to blame."

Colchester Borough Councillor Richard Gower, who represents Marks Tey, said he believed the plans would not get permission.

He explained that the council, which has a statutory duty to provide a gypsy site, had spent large amounts of time and money trying to find a location for one.

"The cabinet of Colchester Borough Council will decide, just after the elections, which one of the designated, selected sites will be chosen.

"I am currently part of that process - it has been long and torturous.

"This application flies in the face of all we have been trying to do. I do not believe it meets the criteria.

"There are issues such as education which have to be resolved.

"This is far too important to treat as something casual. It is not an extension on somebody's house. It is about the whole character of Little Tey."

Speaking before the meeting, director of Smart Planning Russell Forde said he had developed private gypsy sites before in Kent.

He added he had not been invited to attend the meeting.

"We have gypsy clients. This is an exercise in applying before the event, because most gypsy sites are post facto.

"We are trying to follow proper procedure. That is what the planning system is there for.

"If there was a meeting where people wanted facts about the application I would attend.

"I expect a lot of protests. It goes with the territory - it is a controversial application.

"There will be a lot of objections. I do not imagine all of them will be valid, but I am sure there will be some planning content in some of them and we will look at that carefully."

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