Pulborough gypsy family application disputed

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Villagers raised concerns over a proposal to change the use of land to a permanent caravan site for a gypsy family.

Two residents raised objection over the application to change Parsons Field Stables, Pickhurst Lane in Pulborough into a permanent residence for a gypsy family.

Neighbour Robert Houston told a Horsham District Council planning meeting on Tuesday: “This report is inconsistent and incorrect. It says the applicant has fitted in with the community when there have been 18 objections against them.”

Mr Houston also claimed that there had been 31 police complaints, concerning the applicant’s family, made to Sussex Police since 2007, and that the mobile home’s location was putting the applicant’s son’s education at risk.

Another resident Jonathan Wells said that it was inappropriate to have a caravan site in such a ‘tranquil’ place.

Applicant Sarah Barnes said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by Mr Houston’s comments .

She told councillors that the police complaints claim was a ‘lie’.

She added: “To be honest, I’m completely overwhelmed by Mr Houston’s statement that my son’s education is in jeopardy, and all we want is what everyone else takes for granted,” said Mrs Barnes.

“We were homeless travelling around and, as you know, we cannot pick up an education on the roadside.

“I’m speechless. I don’t think his comments conclude to much at all.”

Mrs Barnes proposed that the council drop two conditions from the original application. One of these stated that the family could only occupy the site until April 2013, by which time they would be advised to vacate; the other which stated that the site could only be occupied by Mrs Barnes, her partner and son.

But district councillors voted unanimously not to relax the conditions in place, and instead delegate for further consultation with a view to extend the time in which the family could occupy the land. Roger Paterson (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) said that the applicant was originally granted permission to occupy the site on a temporary basis so the son could attend the local school. “I think we should not allow the removal of the two conditions,” Mr Paterson said.

Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) agreed, but said that West

Sussex County Council had yet to identify appropriate sites for travellers.

Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) added: “There’s quite a gap between what the human rights industry requires and what the law actually says in individual cases.”