Trio launch petition against traveller site plans in Bury St Edmunds

Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds
Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds
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Three residents have launched a petition against controversial plans for a family-run traveller site in Bury St Edmunds.

John Corrie, Michael Schultz and Adrian Williams are objecting against plans for a five pitch private residential traveller site on woodland, off Rougham Hill.

Their petition is the third against the proposals by the Delaney, Casey and Collins extended family after 48 objections were submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, including two petitions.

In their petition, they say the plans go against the authority’s Vision 2031 framework as the woodland is part of a wider strategic growth site.

Vision 2031 states that applications for planning permission will only be determined when developer Hopkins Homes’ masterplan for the area has been adopted.

The trio note that the woodland, on Rougham Hill, was donated to West Suffolk Council in 1972 for the ‘enjoyment of future generations’ and Vision 2031 expects ‘mature trees and tree belts to be retained’.

They also quote planning inspector Roger Clews, who noted in his Vision inquiry that as regards traveller accommodation there were ‘existing planning permissions for five pitches, which are deliverable and are sufficient to meet the need for the next five years’.

Responding to concerns raised about the plans, Ann-Marie Howell, West Suffolk principal planning officer, said: “The family clearly have an urgent ‘actual’ need for a site, despite the ‘theoretical’ short-term need for sites having been met by other planning permissions.”

Meanwhile, the development of the strategic site ‘will provide significant areas of public open space’.

She added: “Whilst this application could be considered to be premature in advance of a masterplan being developed and adopted for the south east strategic growth area, the urgent need for a gypsy/traveller site presented by the applicant is a material consideration which in this case warrants a departure from the adopted development plan.”

From a planning policy perspective, she recommended the application be approved. However, Mr Corrie, Schultz and Williams argue the recommendation has ‘no justification and would seriously compromise the Vision 2031 plans’ for the strategic site.

To sign the petition, email Mr Williams on williams@byfieldway.plus.com

The planning application is due to be considered by the council’s development control committee on February 5.