COUNCIL chiefs are set to give the green light to plans to extend a gypsy site in Temple Grafton despite a raft of objections.
Members of Stratford District Council’s (SDC) planning committee have been recommended to grant the proposal, submitted by existing gypsy site owner Riley Smith, when they meet on Wednesday (September 28).
And if given the go-ahead, the plans would see the existing gypsy site in Croft Lane, made up of five plots, extended by a further seven plots to 12.
Each of the plots on the family-owned site would benefit from a parking and turning area, a dayroom and a static caravan, according to the planning application. It is not known whether the plots would be used by the existing family or sold.
Planning chiefs have advised the plans should be granted on the basis the district is far behind its target for supplying gypsy and traveller sites under its five year plan and it is not often that such applications come along.
Planning chiefs added that according to the 12 points on which potential traveller sites are assessed – which include whether the site is in the green belt, prone to flooding, close to local amenities and likely to cause unacceptable environmental impacts – there were only “small conflicts”.
But this has not prevented a host of objections from ward member Coun Mark Cargill, both Temple Grafton Parish Council and Exhall Parish Council and 42 letters of objection from the public.
Coun Cargill said that as the proposal was to increase the number of pitches from five to seven, this was an increase of over 100 per cent.
He continued: “The original application was for family accommodation due to the specific needs of the family. I see no evidence of any changes in need.
“The increase of seven pitches is a substantial increase in the number of properties in the village. Temple Grafton is classified as ‘other’ in the core strategy indicating that there are limited services available, actually only the primary school. There are few bus services available.”
He added concerns about the visual impact of the site.
Temple Grafton Parish Council has objected on a number of grounds.
These include extension into the open countryside, an unsustainable location with no daily bus service, shop or doctor’s surgery, pavements or street lighting.
It pointed out seven pitches represented an increase of nine per cent in the number of dwellings in the village and the site must therefore be viewed as a large-scale development.
Parish councillors also raised concerns about an increase in traffic on minor rural roads and through the village and said the plans were not outweighed by any community benefits.
Exhall Parish Council has also objected on similar grounds. It too pointed out that given there were only 77 houses within the village boundary of Temple Grafton, seven additional pitches represented a large scale development.
The 42 letters of objection from the public raised such concerns as visual and noise impact, the plans not being eco-friendly, remote from amenities, the size in proportion to Temple Grafton and an increase in traffic.