Plans for gypsy site to go ahead

JPCT 211211 Gypsy site, West Chiltington Lane. photo derek martin
JPCT 211211 Gypsy site, West Chiltington Lane. photo derek martin

LAND at Billingshurst can be used for caravan homes, after an appeal to grant planning permission was allowed by an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate.

Permission for 11 gypsy or traveller pitches together with ‘formation of additional hard standing and utility or day rooms ancillary to that use’ at Kingfisher Farm, West Chiltington Lane, was granted on Monday December 19 by planning inspector David Smith, who allowed an appeal against Horsham District Council’s earlier refusal of the planning application.

The planning decision comes a week after the County Times reported how Billingshurst residents branded plans for gypsy, traveller and travelling showpeople sites in the area ‘unfair’ at a parish council meeting on Wednesday December 7.

On HDC’s planning website residents living near the proposed traveller pitches registered their objections to the plans.

Many stated the West Chiltington Lane is already difficult for cars to drive down and additional families living in the area would impact on the schools, which are already oversubscribed.

Barns Green resident Nicholas Yeo, of Valewood Lane, said creating an ‘isolated commune of up to 11 family units without consideration of public transport, education, healthcare and social services resources and infrastructure appears extremely shortsighted’.

He added: “It is likely to create significant frustrations and tension should it go ahead.”

Both Billingshurst and Itchingfield parish councils objected to the plans.

Issues highlighted in the appeal report by inspector David Smith included concern it would dominate the nearest settled community and impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

In his conclusion though, Mr Smith stated that the site would be ‘reasonably’ located for schools, shops and other local services and community facilities.

He added that it would not ‘dominate’ the nearest settled community and that the proposal ‘would not have a material adverse impact on the visual amenities of the rural area’.

The report also set out conditions that would need to be met by the applicant, Maurice Black, including the number of caravans allowed on the site, how refuse would be dealt with and a limit on the size of the caravans.