Entrance to Bleu Raye Farm

Gypsy/traveller site is passed

Controversial plans for a gypsy/traveller site in Whaplode have been given the go-ahead.

The application for the site for four pitches at Bleu Raye Farm on Millgate came before South Holland District Council’s Planning Committee this week after previously being deferred for more details.

The application has proved controversial as a previous bid for one dwelling on the site was refused in 2016 on the grounds that the site is unsuitable for development due to its distance from facilities and public transport.

However planning officers recommended the application be passed stating the application meets current planning laws and is part of the already passed South Lincolnshire Local Plan.

Neighbour Simon Rummery spoke against the development.

“The scale is totally disproportionate to the site,” he said. “Increasing the area of the proposed site by 19.5 per cent is a significant deviation from the local plan.

“The applications has shown relentless growth over time and this has led to the neighbours deeply worrying concerns over future restraints.”

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Lewis Smith said that all concerns expressed by councillors following the previous deferment had been addressed.

Despite being told they could not refuse the application on the grounds of unsustainability, partly due to the site having been listed for such a development in the already passed local plan, several expressed concerns over the application.

But Coun Andrew Tennant said: “We’re being asked to argue reasons why this site should not be there when it’s too late for that.

“Like it or lump it, it’s been accepted in the local plan.

“These arguments from the parish council etc, should have come forward when the local plan was being developed.

“When applications are deferred they’re for specific reasons and sustainability was not one of the specific reasons.

“Looking at the list of reasons I see nothing in there we can turn round and pick on and say that’s a genuine reason for refusing this site.”

Committee chair Roger Gambba-Jones responded: “In defence of the parish council and local residents, their oppositions were fairly robust and they spent some time at the local plan consultation putting their application forward.

“They were received and listened to by a very experienced inspector.

“The decision wasn’t made with haste, but as with everything in planning, was based on balance.

“I wouldn’t say it’s ideal but the site was available, developable and able to be delivered.

“As always with sites such as this there’s a balance to be struck.”

Councillors offered sympathy to local residents but the application was voted 13-3 in favour.

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