A GYPSY site in Temple Grafton is to get a whole lot bigger after council chiefs gave the green light to an extension.
The site in Croft Lane, owned by Riley Smith, now has planning permission to extend to over 100 per cent its current size – from five plots to 12.
Members of Stratford District Council’s (SDC) planning committee granted the proposal when they met on Wednesday (September 28).
This is despite a raft of opposition from locals who voiced concern the plans amounted to a “large scale development” in their small village.
Each of the seven new plots on the family-owned site will benefit from a parking area, a turning area, a dayroom and a static caravan, according to the plans. It is not known whether the plots will be used by the existing family or sold.
Planning chiefs were advised to grant the plans 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 the go-ahead flies in the face of 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 extending the number of pitches from five to twelve amounted to 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 objected on a number of grounds. These included 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 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.