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Permanent gipsy site moves step closer

PUBLISHED: 18:55 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 12 July 2010

A permanent gipsy and traveller site on the edge Wymondham moved a step closer this week, despite renewed concerns from a neighbouring oil depot.

South Norfolk Councillors rubberstamped another public consultation exercise, which could result in the development of an encampment in Stanfield Road.

A permanent gipsy and traveller site on the edge Wymondham moved a step closer this week, despite renewed concerns from a neighbouring oil depot.

South Norfolk Councillors rubberstamped another public consultation exercise, which could result in the development of an encampment in Stanfield Road.

The approval comes despite concerns from the owners of the land, Goff Petroleum, which says that the proposed site on the outskirts of Wymondham could scupper the company's expansion plans.

Councillors also gave the go-ahead to an eight week consultation on a potential site in Old Harleston Road at Earsham, near Bungay, in a bid to create more permanent gipsy and traveller pitches in the district by 2011.

The two proposed sites were whittled down from a list of 82 locations following work by the council's gipsy and traveller working group and public consultations.

Trevor Dodkin, agent for Goff Petroleum, told councillors on Monday that the development of a gipsy site would have a direct impact on the company's plans to relocate its existing sites in Forncett and Aylsham Road, Norwich, to Stanfield Road.

He added that the proposed encampment was 150metres away from the oil storage depot and the government was currently reviewing risk zones around hazardous sites following the Buncefield explosion in Hertfordshire in 2005.

“The expansion to the west of land identified is essential to the expansion of this established company in the district and the proposed designation of land would effectively halt these plans. How would you feel if there was a Buncefield disaster and you put people in harms way?” he said.

But John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said the Stanfield Road site was the “most suitable” out of all the other locations considered and the Health and Safety Executive had yet to object to the scheme.

“I am satisfied it is the appropriate site. There is no such thing as a gipsy and traveller site that everyone will accept or even embrace. We are always talking about making compromises,” he said.

Murray Gray, leader of the South Norfolk Liberal Democrat group, added that he had found ten locations on the A143/A1066 corridor more suitable than a site sandwiched between a scaffolding company and a pig farm in Earsham.

“An unsound process has led to an unsound conclusion. I believe that there is a serious risk that a planning inspector will agree and you'll be back to square one,” he said.

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