Red Lodge gypsy caravan sites refused permission on former landfill due to ‘environmental concerns’

Travellers (not those applying for the Red Lodge sites)

Travellers (not those applying for the Red Lodge sites) - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Two applications for Romany Gypsy caravan sites off Elms Road have been rejected after environmental concerns made councillors “nervous”.

The smaller of the two applications, for a residential caravan park for three families off Elms Road, was recommended to be approved by Forest Heath District Council officers, but planning committee members voiced concerns over contamination and subsidence.

The larger site, which was for a residential caravan park for four families, including four mobile homes, six caravans and four day rooms, was recommended for refusal because of “unacceptable” harm to the “character and openness” of the countryside. The two sites neighbour each other.

Carol Lynch, a development control committee member and Red Lodge councillor said: “Both applications were refused because of concerns about contamination of the site.

“The committee thought it would quite difficult for them to put anything down on that land. It is raised up quite a way and they couldn’t see how it would be safe.

“Members were not convinced by the environmental report that the ground would support the caravans and were nervous of allowing people to live on the site without more assurance that it was suitable.

“For the larger application, it was much closer to the road and would have been visible from quite a big distance away.”

Most Read

Both applications were objected to by Red Lodge Parish Council, with residents also sharing concerns over impact on primary school places and the roads.

Elms Road was labelled a “rat run” by residents objecting to both plans, with concerns that the access to the site would make the road more dangerous.

Both applications are for Romany Gypsy families and the council is currently falling short of their target for traveller and gypsy sites.

The council officer’s report described the applicants as “actively pursuing a more settled lifestyle” to ensure their children get full-time education.

However, the report did also point out that seven spaces were available at a caravan site in Beck Row.

Red Lodge district councillor Lance Stansbury said: “Clearly we have make allowances for traveller accommodation in the area.

“I just don’t think this site is suitable. I have concerns over the pressure on local infrastructure and amenities. School places are already under pressure.”

The decision was made at a meeting of the development control committee last week.