Residents’ concern over gipsy site near Wimpole Hall estate

PUBLISHED: 08:47 04 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:56 04 April 2014

The proposed site is near to the entrance of Wimpole Hall

The proposed site is near to the entrance of Wimpole Hall

Archant

Villagers have raised concerns at a council meeting to discuss plans for a gipsy caravan site near the entrance to a stately home.

The owner of the land, on Cambridge Road, Wimpole, Ricky Crotty, has put in a change of use application to build a gipsy site which would house two caravans and an amenities building for his family. The site is a former builders and engineering yard.

Mr Crotty, a boxer, has already moved his family on to the site, and is applying for permission retrospectively.

But 19 residents of the hamlet attended a meeting of Wimpole Parish Council on Monday evening to raise concerns about the location, and it’s proximity to the National Trust-owned Wimpole Hall estate.

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, Wimpole’s district councillor, was present at the meeting, along with county councillor Sebstian Kindersley and a planning officer from South Cambs District Council.

He said: “Residents expressed their concerns about the impact this development would have on the surrounding area. This site is in open countryside not far from the South Avenue of Wimpole Hall. This sort of development would change the character of this sensitive location.

“It is also a considerable distance from most services, like shops, schools and the doctors’ surgery. This goes against government guidance on where gipsy sites should be allowed and against the principles of sustainability that underpin the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan, which is not far from being adopted.”

Wimpole Parish Council will hold a further meeting on April 15 to decide on its response to the application.

Cllr Van de Weyer added: “These concerns have to be weighed against the huge pressure on the provision of accommodation for gipsies and travellers in this area.

“Gipsies and travellers can have particular needs, and this has rightly led to some specific planning guidance for people who lead a nomadic life. It has become almost impossible to travel in the traditional manner without a network of authorised sites.”

In their planning application, consultants Phillip Brown Associates, acting on behalf of Mr Crotty state: “The site would provide a settled base from which the applicant and his partner can access health services, earn a living, and reduce their need for travel. The provision of a lawful caravan site would allow for peaceful integration with the settled community.”

The application is likely to be discussed by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee when it meets in May.

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