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Attleborough gipsy site plans refused

18:02 11 March 2011

Plans to extend a travellers site in Attleborough and open it up to the whole of the gipsy community have been turned down by councillors.

Adam Jones lives on the land at Wood View, Leys Lane, where there is an existing bungalow, three static caravans and two touring caravans.

Planning permission for those homes was granted in 2008 on the condition that they are only occupied by Mr Jones’ family, including his eight children.

But the applicant, who has lived there since 1984, had hoped to make use of the remainder of the land by increasing the number of static caravans to a total of nine with four tourers.

He also wanted all of the homes designated for gipsies and travellers, removing the personal use condition, in line with a neighbouring site.

But at Breckland Council’s development control committee on Monday, members voted to turn down the application after hearing concerns from Attleborough townsfolk, the highways authority and its own planning officers, who recommended it be refused.

A representative of the highways authority told the meeting Leys Lane was considered a “sub-standard road” and any extra traffic created by the expansion would be likely to cause “conflict, danger and inconvenience”.

James Becker, whose family owns land in the surrounding area, voiced concerns about the state of the Wood View site and the way it had been kept by Mr Jones.

He said: “It’s very sad to see such beautiful woodland destroyed in this manner.”

But Mr Jones said he planned to tidy up the land if he was given the thumbs up. He said the absence of any permanent planning permission for the entire site limited how much he could invest in it.

Councillor John Labouchere said: “This is exactly the kind of development we don’t need in Breckland or anywhere else. To even offer an expansion of it would be a dereliction of our duty.”

Had the application been granted, Mr Jones would have had to evict his own children from the site since they do not meet the criteria needed to be classed as gipsies.

Breckland council is in the process of carrying out enforcement action on the site.

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