Spalding travellers’ site: Family’s relief over long-running illegal encampment

The Gosberton Clough family arguably most affected by the unauthorised travellers’ site in the village say they are “relieved” at the outcome.

The new Spalding site – which will have ten pitches, each able to accommodate three caravans – will serve as a replacement for the Broad Drove encampment.

The Hoyle family, whose house is just across a single-track road from the site, were all in the public gallery of last Wednesday’s planning meeting at South Holland District Council.

Graham Hoyle (52) told The Voice: “It’s a relief that South Holland District Council has finally found a site which they can make suitable for the travellers in the next 12 months to two years.

“They (the district council) originally started in 2006, but we are well aware of how difficult the situation has been. There’s a lot of time, effort and money gone into this but we’re pleased that this is the next stage.
“This is the first real progress that there has been since the travellers arrived in 2004.”

Mr Hoyle said the situation had put a strain on his family but after some initial discord with members of the illegal encampment, their relationship with the travellers has been “very amicable”.

He said: “Our house is literally ten metres from the site.
“When they first arrived in 2004 they turned up with bulldozers, flattened the field and moved caravans on.
“That was obviously a difficult time for us and caused a lot of strain, but over the years things improved and it’s been very amicable.

“The thing is if you don’t have enough traveller sites, you are going to get desperate travellers taking this sort of action. I asked them once why they didn’t just apply for planning permission somewhere and they said ‘because we wouldn’t get it’.”

Despite concerns over the new Spalding site, Mr Hoyle believes it will be suitable and pointed out that neither the statutory consultees nor the travellers had raised objections.

He said: “They are just ordinary family people. Travellers have an outside lifestyle – they have animals, they ride motorbikes and run their businesses on site.
“There is a bit of noise so it’s just a case of finding a site away from other properties.”

As part of the deal to relocate the travellers, the district council will take ownership of the Gosberton Clough site in the same way it did when travellers were moved from an illegal site in Cranmore Lane, Holbeach, to a new development off the A151 link road.

Mr Hoyle (52), a manufacturing manager for a small electrical firm, has endured the situation at Broad Drove with his wife and four children, now aged between 13 and 27.

He said: “My youngest daughter doesn’t remember a time without the travellers there.

“There is a central Tarmac area and some hardstanding, but the biggest issue will be to move the septic tanks.

“I hope in time it can be returned to agricultural land and sold to a farmer.”

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