Decision due next week on travellers’ plans for a permanent home in Bury St Edmunds
- Credit: Archant
Travellers hoping for a permanent home in west Suffolk are facing considerable opposition to their plans, with a number of petitions against the proposal.
Kevin Delaney submitted the planning application on behalf of an extended traveller family for five pitches at a woodland area off Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds.
But three petitions against the plans have already been lodged with St Edmundsbury Borough Council along with a further 30 objections. The majority of those objecting raised concerns about the loss of community woodland to make way for the pitches, while others suggested the plans breached the borough’s own policies.
John Corrie, of Rushbrooke Lane, who has launched a petition with two other residents, said: “We are not at all saying we don’t want them because they are travellers, we are saying we don’t want the woodland destroyed and the council to act against its own policies.”
He said the community woodland was given to the people of Suffolk in the 1970s for the enjoyment of future generations and, while accepting there has been antisocial behaviour at the site, said it is used by locals for dog walking.
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Opponents also feel the proposal is premature as council policy says applications for planning permission for Bury’s south-east strategic site will only be determined once the masterplan for the whole area has been adopted by the local planning authority.
Michael Hargreaves, agent for the applicant, said the development would only see the removal of poorer quality trees as the most important ones would be kept.
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He also said provision for travellers was part of the borough’s local plan and a solution to the problem of a lack of a site was needed “now”. “It is a good site; it’s near the town, it’s not on top of other residential areas. The people want to live in Bury and see themselves as being part of our community.”
Unauthorised encampments on St Edmundsbury owned sites has been a major issue recent years, leading to the authority seeking a High Court injunction in a bid to prevent them returning. Both Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury have said they are keen to find a resolution to the long-running problem.
The application is due to be considered by St Edmundsbury’s development control committee on February 5.
Anyone who wants to sign the petition should email Adrian Williams on email@example.com
Anyone wishing to comment on the application can do so by visiting www.westsuffolk.gov.uk and using the reference code DC/14/1667/FUL.
The official consultation has closed, but the council will continue to accept comments up until February 4.