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Temporary planning permission granted by Newark and Sherwood District Council to Traveller family who moved onto land in Balderton

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Temporary planning permission has been granted to a Traveller family who moved onto land in Balderton.

The land, off Main Street, had permission for six flats when the family took over the site in September.

The Advertiser was contacted by concerned residents at the time, who reported the Travellers had started building work, despite planning permission not being granted.

Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee was told by officers it would have to consider the council’s lack of a five-year supply of sites for Gypsy and Travellers, as required by national policy.

The site when caravans had moved onto it. 101020DD1-2
The site when caravans had moved onto it. 101020DD1-2

Officers said this demonstrated the limited availability of sites to the applicant.

The family’s part-retrospective application was for a change of use of land for the stationing of caravans for residential occupation, including new access to the site, hard standing and utility block.

Lydia Hurst, representing Balderton Parish Council, said: “While we appreciate this is a retrospective application, many of the details are not correct. This should not change the rules of planning.

The land off Main Street, Balderton, before the Travellers moved onto the site.
The land off Main Street, Balderton, before the Travellers moved onto the site.

“One of the four children has health issues and the location (near the A1 and railway) would be far from acceptable for the health and safety of children.

“The family will probably be using LPG on site (gas cylinders) and this also could be fire hazard to A1 and train line — how can we assure the health and safety of this family?

“While we realise this family needs a permanent site to live on, this isn’t it.”

Johno Lee, ward member, echoed Mrs Hurst’s comments. “There are four children with a new baby on the way and the land is just unsuitable. I was on the committee when the the land was deemed unacceptable for flats,” he said.

“I accept the council is not fulfilling its obligations with the land supply for Travellers, but we should not allow people to live in unacceptable areas because the council is failing.

“I’m asking for refusal and to give the council a kick up the bum and get their five-year land supply in order.”

Committee chairman Roger Blaney said: “Across the last 15 years we have provided more additional Gypsy and Traveller pitches in Newark and Sherwood than most of the other local authorities in Nottinghamshire.

“We come from a high level of pitches in the first place.”

Member Laurence Goff said he was supporting the application: “Travellers are being pushed all over the place — where are they going to go?

“The district council has a responsibility. I’m looking forward to more provisions being put forward in the future.”

Mr Blaney said when consent for flats on the site was refused, it went to appeal and was allowed. He said: “Who knows if those would have had children in them.

“What we are saying is an independent inspector considers the site acceptable, despite proximity to railway and A1 — but we are questioning whether it’s suitable for one Traveller pitch.

“It is retrospective, but it is a site where the family are living currently, in the knowledge of that noise.”

He added if the application was refused and went to appeal, the applicant would likely win.

County highways did not raise any objections, but said the applicant should provide two footpaths on each side of Hollowdyke Lane, which must be implemented within three months of permission being granted to provide a safe site entry and exit.

The applicant responded to this stating the cost was unreasonable on the basis only temporary permission was being recommended.

Officers considered this but concluded it necessary for the development to be safe, whether planning permission was temporary or permanent.

The family was granted permission for a temporary three-year period on a majority vote.

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