Travellers to appeal against decision to refuse a private site in Bury St Edmunds

Travellers on Orttewell Road, Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds,

Travellers on Orttewell Road, Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds, - Credit: Archant

Travellers who have been refused permission to set up a permanent home off Rougham Hill in Bury St Edmunds are to appeal against the decision.

The Delaney family had hoped to have five pitches in a woodland area, but St Edmundsbury’s development control committee rejected the application earlier this month.

Committee members felt the loss of the community woodland without a necessary replacement, as well as the application being premature, were grounds for refusal.

The proposal faced considerable opposition from members of the local community, who had gathered objections in a number of petitions.

Speaking on behalf of the Delaney family, planning agent Michael Hargreaves said he felt they had a “very good chance” of winning an appeal, adding “the grounds for refusal were pretty thin”.

“The fact that some people object doesn’t mean it should be refused,” he said.

Planning officers had recommended permission be granted for the private traveller site.

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The report said the family “clearly have an urgent actual need for a site” and no sites for travellers were identified as part of the proposals for the borough’s new local plan, Vision 2031.

Council planning policy does say applications for planning permission for the strategic site in south-east Bury will only be determined once the masterplan for the whole area has been adopted by the local planning authority.

But the officers concluded: “It is considered that whilst this application could be considered as premature, in advance of a masterplan being developed and adopted for the south-east strategic growth area, the urgent need for a gypsy/traveller site presented by the applicant is a material consideration which in this case warrants a departure from the adopted development plan.”

Unauthorised encampments on St Edmundsbury-owned sites has been a major issue in 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 Borough Council have said they are keen to find a resolution to the long-running problem in the area.

Mr Hargreaves said the traveller family were “very disappointed” the plans were refused, but they did have a temporary site at Compiegne Way in Bury.

“Yes, refusal wasn’t great, but the family haven’t been made homeless,” he said.

He added that they want to live in Bury St Edmunds and see themselves as part of the town’s community.