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Gypsy planning application approved
TRAVELLERS' plea to allow an extra caravan at their pitch in Great Kingshill has been successful.
Councillors have approved a retrospective planning application for the additional mobile home by Windmill Lane.
Despite the fact the development is considered inappropriate for the Green Belt officers recommended for approval because Wycombe District Council is behind in meeting its target for gypsy sites in the area.
Councils have to provide a certain amount by law.
On Wednesday night the planning committee granted a temporary approval for three years to the third caravan, with the deficit of 12 travellers' pitches in Wycombe giving the proposal “very special circumstances”.
However, councillors ruled against a retrospective application for an access lane created from Windmill Lane and said it must be put back to how it used to be.
Hughenden Parish Councillor Rick Gould told the meeting: “An additional new mobile home would be totally inappropriate and would have an adverse visual impact on the landscape.
“It's extremely large and tantamount a permanent bungalow being placed in the Green Belt contrary to all the regulations.”
Great Kingshill Residents Association spokesman Richard Coleman said it was an inappropriate development and the third mobile home should be removed.
He said: “Our view is that such very special circumstances have not been demonstrated.”
Both argued that gypsy status had not been proved.
While officials admitted they had not been presented with such proof either, on contacting relevant travellers' organisations, they were assured that the claim was indeed valid.
Matthew Green of Green Planning Solutions, speaking on behalf of the traveller family, said: “What we have here is an existing lawful caravan site. That current caravan site has no control on how many caravans there can be at the site.
“My clients have got caravans they need and there's no intention of anything else.”
There is no question that they are indeed a gypsy family, he said, despite opponents raising doubts, and an appeal would highly likely give permission, he added.
The first time permission was given for a caravan on the site in 1962.
There was a general consensus among the planning committee that the extra caravan did not have a significant impact.
Cllr Alan Turner said: “Of all of these sites we have visited over the years this has to be the least impact in my view on the surrounding countryside. It's so minor on the current site in terms of visual impact.”
Cllr Clive Harriss said: “It's just a strip development and doesn't impact very much at all.”
Cllr Alan Hill said: “I can't see any problems with it.”
The committee voted in favour by 11 votes to two.
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