CONTENTIOUS plans for yet another gypsy site in Temple Grafton are set for the go-ahead despite staunch opposition.
Members of Stratford District Council’s planning committee have been recommended to grant plans for a gypsy pitch with two caravans – one stationary and one touring – on land adjoining Greenways in Arden’s Grafton Road when they meet on Wednesday (June 7).
This is despite a raft of opposition in the village including from ward member Coun Mark Cargill and Temple Grafton Parish Council, while there have been 31 letters of objection submitted to SDC.
Coun Cargill said the application for another traveller pitch in this field was inappropriate in open countryside and in a special landscape area.
He continued that Temple Grafton was not a service village as it only had a primary school, a church and an occasional bus service.
He also raised concerns about highway safety as the site would involve travellers’ large vehicles pulling out onto a road with a 60mph speed limit and crossing a pavement used by school children.
He said that the caravans and associated vehicles would be ‘jarring and out of character’ to the location and lead to the urbanisation of the countryside.
And he pointed out that an extension to the Croft Land traveller site had been granted by SDC in August 2022 and this site was not fully occupied, so surely priority should be given to using vacant pitches on that site first?
Members of the parish council have objected on a number of grounds including harm to the landscape, highways safety concerns and also the fact there were vacant pitches on other local traveller sites.
Objections from the public include it would not meet identified housing need, the number of pitches in the village was disproportionate to the number of dwellings – now standing at 13, and there was no benefit to the community.
There was one letter in support of the planning application, which stated the applicant was without a permanent site due to the shortfall in the supply of sites in the district.
Planning officers have recommended the committee grant the application for the gypsy site as there is currently a lack of gypsy and traveller accommodation in the district.
A report to go before the committee states: “The severity of the current shortfall is significant and in the absence of any evidence to demonstrate it would be addressed in the near future, it must carry substantial weight.”
The latest Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment Update carried out in 2019 concluded that the need within the district for the period 2019 to 2035 was 70 additional pitches. Since that time just ten new pitches have been delivered.
The officer’s report did recommend however that the gypsy site be granted permission on a temporary, rather then a permanent, basis.