Gipsy site plans refused

A gipsy family are vowing to appeal against a council decision which will see them evicted from their own land on the outskirts of a south Norfolk village.

A GIPSY family are vowing to appeal against a council decision which will see them evicted from their own land on the outskirts of a south Norfolk village.

Matthew May had applied to change the use of agricultural land at Laynes Farm, off Gilderswood Lane, Forncett St Peter, near Long Stratton, into a residential site with the standing of static caravans, two touring caravans and a day block.

The application was partially retrospective as his family had been living on the site since January in one caravan with a lorry body being used as storage.

But South Norfolk Council's north and west area planning committee voted to reject the proposals on Monday siding with the recommendations of the authority's planners that they raised highway safety concerns, would impact on the character and appearance of the area and there was not enough information regarding possible ground contamination due to the closeness of a former sand extraction pit.


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Councillors also decided to instigate enforcement action which would see the family forced off the site if they do not move within a certain period of time.

The main objection had come from the county highways department which said Gilderswood Lane was too narrow and the site's access too poor to support an increase in traffic.

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Those concerns were echoed by Forncett Parish Council and some local residents, who also thought the development would be an intrusive sight in the countryside, a harm to wildlife and questioned why HGVs had been seen heading to the site.

But Candy Sheridan, a North Norfolk district councillor and vice-chairman of the Gypsy Council who spoke on behalf of Mr May, said the lorries formed part of a neighbouring farmer's business and had nothing to do with the applicant.

She also rejected that the site would look intrusive and said Mr May was awaiting the result of an assessment by the highways department to see whether passing places along Gilderswood Lane could be constructed, which the applicant would fund.

Following the meeting she said Mr May would be appealing the refusal decision and the enforcement notice, otherwise his family would be forced back onto the roadside.

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