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Campaigners applaud cllrs rejection of travellers site plan
CAMPAIGNERS applauded councillors after they rejected proposals for a travellers’ site in Flackwell Heath.
Members of Wycombe District Council’s Planning Committee said the proposal to change the land at The Nursery in Heath End Road was “inappropriate” and contravened Green Belt land rules.
Two gypsy families wanted to convert the site to allow two mobile homes, two touring caravans and the erection of a utility room after a previous plan was rejected by the council in August.
The families, who are facing eviction from an unauthorised site in Walters Ash, called in the Planning Inspectorate over that original decision. The inquiry was deferred until May to allow this application.
Council planning officers recommended that its members should accept this fresh application as it had overcome previous problems and had “very special circumstances” to over-ride Green Belt policies.
Officers said granting temporary permission would give the council time to draw up a five-year supply of gypsy and traveller sites.
But more than 600 residents opposed the scheme, along with Chepping Wycombe Parish Council and a campaign group called Flackwell Heath Residents against Inappropriate Development.
They urged councillors to throw out the proposals in a packed Council Chamber on Wednesday night as it would have a detrimental effect on the Green Belt and the character of the area – and members agreed.
Cllr Jean Teesdale said: “It would be detrimental to the character of the village, I think it would be an eyesore right on the gateway to the village.
“It wouldn’t give a good impression to visitors and I can’t see how anyone could say this is in keeping with the rest of the village.”
Cllr David Johncock also raised concerns about allowing the development on the Green Belt and before through research and a plan to deliver travellers sites had been finalised.
The plan was rejected by 13 votes to one, sparking applause from the public galleries and celebrations outside the chamber.