Fears over new travellers's site

FEARS of a dramatic drop in house prices and a negative effect on the character of villages are two of the reasons why residents do not want a new site for travellers near their homes, an MP has claimed.

FEARS of a dramatic drop in house prices and a negative effect on the character of villages are two of the reasons why residents do not want a new site for travellers near their homes, an MP has claimed.

Villagers in Woolpit, Elmswell and Tostock have been surveyed by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley to discover their opinions on the site, in the parish of Elmswell, which could accommodate 18 families.

The travellers have now put in a formal planning application for their plans in the hope of becoming part of the community.

But, as the deadline for formal objections ends today, Mr Ruffley said there was strong feeling against the proposals.


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He said: "It is too early to talk about exact numbers but the majority of questionnaires I have had back have been against the encampment.

"Concerns about a drop in house prices have surfaced and I think some residents think it will potentially effect the character of the villages. Also can the local roads and infrastructure actually sustain such a development?"

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Conservative MP Mr Ruffley sent out more than 1,000 questionnaires in the three villages asking residents to make their opinions known.

"This is an important consultation, not just for those living near the encampment but for everyone in the three villages," he said.

"I want everyone to have their say, both for and against, and I want everybody to know what the facts are as I think it is extremely important that people know what is happening on their doorstep."

Having already started work on the site, the group of travellers have since applied for an official retrospective application.

They are asking for permission of 18 families to live on the land with space for two caravans per pitch and ancillary works.

A spokesman for the group, who have spent more than £100,000 on making the site habitable, said: "We are happy on the site and we are hoping for a peaceful and good relationship with the rest of the village."

Mr Ruffley said he would be collating the responses this week while members of Mid Suffolk District Council will discuss the application at a future meeting.

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