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Plans to build 12 pitch traveller site just outside Worlington submitted to West Suffolk Council

Councillors will hold an emergency meeting next week after proposals to build a new traveller site just outside Worlington were submitted to district planners.

The scheme will see 12 caravan pitches built on a small sliver of land in Isleham Road, and Worlington’s parish councillors will meet on Tuesday when they will decide if they will back the scheme which would see the new development built 850 metres away from the village.

The plans submitted to West Suffolk Council, the authority which will make the decision, show where the site’s 12 amenity buildings would stand, along with concrete pads for mobile homes and bases for touring caravans, which would be allowed at the site for no more than 28 days a year.

The proposed site just outside Worlington, on Isleham Road.(42154129)
The proposed site just outside Worlington, on Isleham Road.(42154129)

If approved, the build will also see a road built into the site, along with a play area and drainage system.

In documents submitted on behalf of Wattisfield-based applicant Shayne Smith, architect Michael Hargreaves has told officers: “The application is submitted by a group of 12 Romany Gypsy families with strong local links.”

The agent added: “They each own their own pitch, and will be responsible for its development, with the group as a whole jointly owning and being responsible for the provision of the access road and the communal areas.”

Mr Hargreaves told district planners policy suggested they should support the scheme, but also highlighted what he described as the ‘accommodation stress’ the family is facing.

He said the proposed occupants of eight pitches were living on other people’s land, with no security of tenure, and in many cases breaking planning laws.

Mr Hargreaves continued: “Nearly all of the households are over-crowded, some of them severely. For instance, one couple and their six children are sharing one six-birth caravan.”

He added there were vacant traveller plots at Sandy Park, in Beck Row, but the site owner was not accepting new occupants.

The site used to be used to be attached to a kennels and cattery, which was based in the house opposite the site, and had become a fly-tipping hotspot.

Mr Hargreaves said in December last year the applicants had cleared much of the fly tipping and constructed a bund to prevent further incidents.