Travellers look to make site official

TRAVELLERS who set up home on the outskirts of a picturesque Suffolk village have applied for official permission for the encampment in the hope of becoming part of the community.

TRAVELLERS who set up home on the outskirts of a picturesque Suffolk village have applied for official permission for the encampment in the hope of becoming part of the community.

The group, who have begun building an access road on the site close to Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds, yesterday lodged a retrospective planning application with Mid Suffolk District Council.

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

The group say they have already spent around £100,000 on making the site habitable, and are keen to make the area look pleasant to prevent any misconceptions amongst their new neighbours.

You may also want to watch:

A spokesman for the group said: “We are happy on the site and we are hoping for a peaceful and good relationship with the rest of the village. We will have a mixed age range on the site, from young families to the elderly, and we will spend money in local shops.”

But David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, said he would send leaflets to every household in Woolpit, Elmswell and Tostock outlining the issues and asking for opinions in the light of the planning application.

Most Read

“This will raise consciousness and awareness that something could be happening here which could change the character and nature of the village,” he said.

“I have received lots of letters and phone calls, and none of them so far have been positive or in favour of this site.

“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.

“It does not matter if this is a travellers' site or a new housing development. I do not think people believe the local environment can sustain extra builds.”

Mr Ruffley said concerns had been raised over the size of the site and the potential extra traffic caused by the families, adding he wanted the same processes followed with the travellers' site as with any other development.

But Ray Melvin, Mid Suffolk District Councillor for the Woolpit ward, said: “I am not prepared to pre-judge the issue.

“It is unfortunate the travellers have done things this way round, but they have now remedied that by putting in an application. I think we should wait and see what happens before we start getting too excited.”

A spokesman for Mid Suffolk District Council said: “Representatives of travellers in Mid Suffolk have submitted a planning application for a gypsy caravan site.

“The description of the works for which planning permission is being sought is 'Proposed gypsy caravan site for 18 families with two caravans per pitch, including ancillary works'.

“Mid Suffolk District Council has sent out initial consultations and notifications. Anyone wishing to comment upon the application should do so in writing, and should ensure that their comments are received by 30 August 2004.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the application should write to The Planning Control Section, Mid Suffolk District Council, 131, High Street, Needham Market, IP6 8DL.

Correspondence should be marked with the reference JS/980/04. A copy of the application can be inspected at the council offices.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter