We fear travellers will buy land near us

First published in News

CONCERNS have been raised about land which has gone up for sale next to a recently formed travellers’ site.

The travellers moved onto land opposite Willow Cottage, on Southend Road, near the Five Bells roundabout, over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

This sparked anger among local residents that Thurrock Council did not act sooner to prevent the caravans from settling on the land.

Thurrock Council is treating the development as a planning breach and considering taking enforcement action.

Now it has emerged two plots of land around the site, thought to be owned by someone living in Spain, are for sale. Fears have been raised the land could be bought by the traveller community already on the site and others may join them.The owner of Five Bells Caravan Centre, in Southend Road, owns the rest of the land in the area.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This land will probably be bought by travellers. It will make that stretch of land and road busier and dangerous for the amount of traffic it receives each day.”

The sale of the two parcels of land is being handled by Dedman Gray, which is holding a public auction on July 17. The company said its client does not want to be identified.

Russell Hawkes, auction consultant for Dedman Gray, said: “If the neighbours are concerned, they should contact us and come to the auction. It is a public auction.”

Corringham and Fobbing councillor Mark Coxshall thought this showed where the council’s development framework policy had failed. He claimed this land should have been included with other plots in Thurrock to be developed on, namely as the site for East Thurrock United’s new football stadium, which might have meant this saga was avoided.

He said: “I can’t tell a businessman who to sell his land to. But if it was my land, I wouldn’t sell it to travellers because I wouldn’t want to upset good relations with Corringham and Fobbing residents.

“Now would be an ideal time to look at putting the stadium there, with this land up for sale.”

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