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Residents oppose plan for permanent Gypsy and traveller site

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:59 07 November 2019

The site off Highlands Road in Monks Eleigh   Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The site off Highlands Road in Monks Eleigh Picture: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

Residents in a Suffolk village are opposing a plan for a permanent Gypsy and traveller site on land used for keeping horses.

The site off Highlands Road in Monk Eleigh   Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe site off Highlands Road in Monk Eleigh Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The application for the site at Monks Eleigh, near Bildeston, has been made to Babergh District Council by landowner David Penfold.

He is seeking planning permission to convert it into a pitch for one mobile home, two caravans and a day house containing a kitchen, bathroom, utility room and dining area for him and his family.

But the council has already received a host of objections from residents in Monks Eleigh, who say the site, off Highlands Road, is not suitable.

One, Mrs Sharon Ghannam, said: "There is not one thing I can think of that would be a plus with this plan.

"The whole idea is impractical beyond belief. It would be detrimental in every way, to the area, the people living here, the value of housing.

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"If it sounds like 'Not in my backyard' that's exactly what it means."

Laura Wallace, said her family owned a field 400 yards away and downstream of the River Brett, which runs alongside the proposed site and which regularly floods when the river is high.

"We have lived here for 29 years and have learnt the risks," she said.

"Monks Eleigh church has owned the adjacent field to this site, immediately upstream and on the same level, for nearly 300 years.

"An application for normal housing on that site would never have been considered, due to the risk of flooding and the general beauty of the riverside area."

The agents acting for Mr Penfold in the application are Ruston Planning of Bristol, a planning consultancy headed by Dr Simon Ruston which specialises in Gypsy and Traveller applications.

They declined to comment, but in a statement to the council Dr Ruston said the application was consistent with planning guidelines and met a need for Gypsy and Traveller pitches.

"Given the pressing need for Gypsy and Traveller pitches in Babergh and surrounding areas, this application represents an opportunity for the LPA (Local Planning Authority) to meet some of this need without expense to anyone other than the applicant," he said.

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