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Newark and Sherwood District Council submit planning application for 15 Gypsy and Traveller pitches at former Belvoir Ironworks on Bowbridge Lane, Newark

An application to increase the pitch provision for the Gypsy and Traveller community in the district has been submitted at an industrial site.

Newark and Sherwood District Council have put forward plans for 15 family pitches at the former Belvoir Ironworks on Bowbridge Lane, Newark.

Under the plans, the 1.3 hectare site would see the construction of 15 pitches, each with amenity blocks and vehicle parking, as well as site office, and access road on to Bowbridge Lane.

Layout of proposed Gypsy and Traveller Site at the former Belvoir Ironworks on Bowbridge Lane. Provided by: Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Layout of proposed Gypsy and Traveller Site at the former Belvoir Ironworks on Bowbridge Lane. Provided by: Newark and Sherwood District Council.

The site will be boarded by a mix of mesh fencing and hedgerows to minimise visual impact and each pitch separated by a 1.2metre high timber palisade fence mixed hedge, to identify plots. and individual pitches will be areas of hardstanding surrounded with strips of soft landscaping.

The council is required by government legislation to meet the increases need for housing as the population grows across the district, which includes provision for Gypsy and Traveller communities who have a longstanding history in Newark and Sherwood.

Within this government framework the council must find land for an additional 169 pitches, with 103 of these pitches needing to be provided within the next five years.

Finding the right land for this purpose in the right location is complex, and since 2013 the council has on many occasions called for private landowners to come forward with land which could be used for Gypsy and Traveller sites.

All sites are assessed as to whether they are suitable to be formally allocated for this use.

Of the land put forward, only four new site allocations in the Newark area were considered appropriate, and three of which now have planning permission. The final one is at the site of the former Belvoir Ironworks.

Concern has in the past been raised about the site as potentially being contaminated from its former industrial use.

The plans state that any existing contaminated on-site materials will be removed and disposed of at a licensed facility.

Replacement clean materials will be brought in, and new buildings and facilities will be provided with gas protection.

Previous works to clear potential contaminated soil and water took place in the 1990s and last year an initial environmental survey was conducted which found no evidence of any gross contamination on the surface of the site and vegetation appeared healthy.

A flood risk assessment determined that the site was suitable for the proposed use.

Council leader Paul Peacock, said: “We are required by government to provide land for all our communities. We detail how we will meet these housing requirements in our Amended Allocations and Development Management Development Plan Document (DPD).

“All planning authorities must have a DPD approved by the Planning Inspectorate and ours has currently been submitted for examination.

“The submission of this application shows that we are serious about meeting the future housing needs of all our communities, as we have made clear we will.

“Securing a planning permission will be an important step in us being able to resist Gypsy and Traveller sites in unplanned locations.

“In Newark and Sherwood, currently there are around 400 Gypsy and Traveller pitches.

“The government’s current methodology means that Newark and Sherwood District Council must find land for an additional 169 pitches, with the majority (103 pitches) needing to be provided within the next five years.

“By submitting this site on Bowbridge Road for Gypsy and Traveller pitch provision, we are taking the first steps to meet this need.

“As part of the planning application process, consultees — like the Environment Agency and parish councils — have been approached by the district council and invited to submit their comments. Local residents also have the opportunity to comment.

“The planning application also includes an arboricultural report, drainage strategy, landscaping plan, an ecological appraisal survey and a flood risk assessment.

Mr Peacock added: “We have made the planning application to continue to try and meet our currently significant unmet Gypsy and Traveller pitch provision need.

“We appreciate that the submission of any planning application may raise questions and concerns, but I encourage you to view the plans on our website for further information or to provide a comment.”

The planning application will be considered by Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee later in the spring.

The planning committee meeting will be live streamed via the council’s website and all are welcome to attend in person at Castle House.

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