Councillors have unanimously refused controversial plans for four extra gypsy pitches at a site in Stanton due to its ‘detrimental’ impact on the countryside.
The proposals sought retrospective consent for three pitches and permission for an additional one at The Birches, in Glassfield Road, as well as stationing for four caravans, day rooms and changes to an existing pitch and stable block.
At a meeting of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee yesterday, councillors were united in their condemnation of the plans.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White said: “It would be hard to come up with a plan that is more intrusive in its nature into the countryside.”
A report to the development control committee said the existing pitch was granted permission on appeal in 2013 but conditions had since been breached with a number of ‘unauthorised pitches’ which are subject of injunctive action.
The requirement of the injunction to remedy the breaches was held until March 19 on the basis that a retrospective application was submitted.
The report notes that ‘what currently exists on the site is not the same as the development proposed’.
However, the council received 32 letters of objection from residents about the plans.
Concerns raised included highway safety as the ‘roads are not suitable and were not designed for such a large amount of traffic’.
They also cited a ‘detrimental impact on the landscape, environment and wildlife in the area’ and felt the ‘scale of development is inappropriate’.
Bardwell and Stanton Parish Councils objected and noted that ‘local feeling is very strongly against the development’.
They said that 71 people attended a a meeting to discuss the application with ‘a unanimous vote to object’ while a survey produced 171 returns - ‘all against the development’.
The report noted that there had been no information provided to ‘suggest there was a need for additional pitches’.
Officers recommended the plans for refusal due to the ‘detrimental impact to the character and appearance of the countryside’.
They added that the ‘provision of the proposed number of buildings within such close proximity to each other within a rural location would appear alien and intrusive in the rural environment’.
Neither the applicant nor the agent spoke at yesterday’s meeting.