Parish council objects to gypsy site expansion

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A COUNCIL has objected to plans to treble the size of an existing family gypsy site in order to accommodate more relatives.

Last Thursday, Wickhambrook Parish Council met to debate its response to St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s plans to enlarge the site at Kelly’s Meadow, off of the A143.

Two of the site’s occupants, Vera and Linda Goodey, have applied to increase the number of caravans from three to 10, build two amenity buildings, construct six hard-standings, create a new wider access road and undertake a range of landscaping and ground engineering works.

The Goodey’s home has been earmarked for expansion by St Edmundsbury Borough Council to help increase its provision for travellers, as required by government targets.

The site is only intended to be used by members of the Goodey family and is meant to be restricted to a maximum of 12 caravans.

At Thursday’s meetin,g the council agreed to base its planning objection on the location of the site, which it feels it too far from the centre of Wickhambrook, and the access, which it feels raises safety concerns because of inadequate visibility. Objectors are also unhappy that £737,000 of central government funding is being made available through the scheme.

Concerns were raised about whether the expanded site would be properly managed over the first 10 years, when it would be leased to the borough council, and afterwards when it would be sold back to the Goodey’s for £1.

Mike Kemp, a Kelly’s Meadow Steering Committee member, voiced concern that the site had been chosen for expansion when other sites could have been used. “The occupants of Kelly’s meadow have been used as a political pawn and it’s a matter of great regret,” he said.