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Concerns raised Thundersley travellers site could be expanding
A PROSPECTIVE travellers site in Thundersley could already be expanding, residents claim.
Five caravans moved onto Janda Field, off Fane Road, over the August bank holiday weekend prompting concerns Castle Point could see its own version of Dale Farm.
More than 200 anxious neighbours packed out the Castle Point Council offices, in Kiln Road on Wednesday to quiz their local councillors on why the authority has yet to take action, after news of the neighbourhood council meeting was spread on Facebook.
Plans have been submitted to create a fully-fledged three-pitch site on the green belt site which have yet to come before the council for approval.
However, residents claim the travellers are already breaking this application after only two months as eight caravans have now been seen on the field.
One worried resident said at the meeting: "There are eight caravans there at the moment. The site is already getting bigger and it hasn't even been approved yet."
Neighbours have already banded together to start a petition against the proposed site.
Roger Cordeoy, 68, of Grandview Road, Thundersley said: “No matter what restrictions the council places on this application, there’s no guarantee the travellers will stick to it, I mean they didn’t at Dale Farm.
“The travellers are already there now and the application hasn’t even been decided, what does that say about how much they listen to authority?”
Council officers reassured residents at the meeting the matter would be promptly investigated.
A spokesman from the authority said: “Our officers have since been down to investigate the claims that more caravans had moved onto the site.
“We can confirm there are only five caravans on the field which is less than what is specified in the application.
“However, we will continue to monitor the situation.”
Patrick and Miles McCarthy paid £83,000 cash for the land in July.
Fears the site could expand had already been raised after neighbouring green belt land, off Bassenthwaite Road, went up for auction.
However Pam Challis, leader of the authority, confirmed the land had been purchased by a resident backing onto the site, and not by the traveller family.
Mrs Challis also explained the authority was advised by the Government not to serve an enforcement order to remove the caravans, in the event it could jeopardise their stance on the planning application.