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Travellers appeal greenbelt planning decision
11:00am Tuesday 15th January 2013 in Local News
HISTORY looks set to repeat itself as travellers are appealing to the Government to approve plans for a permanent caravan site on green belt land.
Proposals to create a three-pitch caravan site on Janda Field, in Fane Road, Thundersley were unanimously rejected by Castle Point councillors last month who deemed it inappropriate development for a green belt site.
Now, the owners have the launched an appeal after contacting the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to try and get the decision reversed.
The move has put a halt to enforcement proceedings by Castle Point Council, issued on December 5, ordering them to stop development on the site, sparking fears the future of the land could be tied up in red tape for years.
Beverly Egan, Conservative councillor for St Peter’s ward, said: “The matter has gone through the legal process and obviously it is the individuals’ right to appeal against the council’s decision. While it does mean their occupation of the site continues we have to go through this lawful procedure.
“I will be keeping a close eye on what happens of course. If you look at the legal traveller provisions in other boroughs and the one in our own, they are not smack bang in the middle of green belt and have suitable access routes.
“The proposals present no special circumstances any different from another resident wanting to build a home on green belt, and we need to treat everyone equally. Now it’s just a waiting game.”
Around 83 letters, 148 emails, 29 comments on the council’s website and 321 pro-forma objection letters were submitted to the council in opposition to the plans.
In a report submitted as part of the appeals process, the travellers’ agent, Heine Planning Consultancy, states: “It will be argued that the proposal could be regarded as infill development on previously developed land in the Green Belt which does not result in any greater impact on openness.
“It will be argued that permission was unreasonably refused without consideration of a temporary permission.”
The travellers at Dale Farm launched several High Court appeals during their 10 year stay at Dale Farm including one right at the eleventh hour which called a halt to the first original planned eviction in September 2011.
However, Miles McCarthy senior categorically assured councillors the site would not be another rendition of Dale Farm at the development control meeting in December.
The Planning Inspectorate has yet to issue a date on when the appeal will be heard.
The Echo contacted Heine Planning Consultancy but did not receive a response.