Plans for Thundersley traveller site set for refusal

Caravans at Janda Fields in Thundersley

Caravans at Janda Fields in Thundersley

First published in News

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a permanent travellers site on green belt in Thundersley could be thrown out.

Retrospective plans have been submitted to create a three-pitch site on Janda Fields, in Fane Road, Thundersley after a group of five caravans moved onto the site over the August bank holiday weekend.

Hundreds of concerned residents packed out a council meeting last month to voice their opposition to the plans over fears it could spell the start of Castle Point’s very own Dale Farm.

Now, planning officers at Castle Point Council have recommended the plans for refusal citing green belt concerns.

Lee Williams, 42, of Langford Crescent, Thundersley, who started a petition against the plans, said: “A lot of people in the community were really concerned about this. There is no excuse for building on our green belt. I am pleased the council have recommend these plans be thrown out and hopefully, if they are refused, they will take action to preserve the land.”

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.

The council is required to provide three traveller pitches in the borough by 2013, and has so far approved two pitches at Orchard place on the A127.

However, Government planning guidance for traveller sites states: “inappropriate development is harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved, except in special circumstances. Traveller sites (temporary or permanent) in the Green Belt are inappropriate development.”

In a council report the authority stated: “The applicant has failed to demonstrate any very special circumstances why the proposal might exceptionally be permitted and in the absence of such very special circumstances approval of the proposal would be contrary to national policy.

“Whilst a deficiency in traveller site provision has been identified this deficiency is limited to one pitch only in the period to 2013 with a further pitch to be identified in the period to 2021.

“The current proposal exceeds this provision and potentially meets the needs beyond 2021. Such provision is considered excessive in the context of the preparation of a new Local Plan and would deny the planning authority the opportunity to consider the provision of traveller sites in a strategic manner.”

Brothers Miles and Michael McCarthy and their nephew, also called Miles McCarthy, paid £83,000 in cash for the land, in July this year.

The Echo tried to contact their agent for a comment, but did not receive a response.

A final decision on the plans will be made at a development control meeting at the council offices, in Kiln Road, Thundersley, on December 4.

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