Traveller family’s delight after winning appeal to expand site

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A TRAVELLER family have won their fight against a decision to block plans to expand a caravan site.

On Monday, a government inspector decided the Goodey family’s plans to expand the Kelly’s Meadows site near Wickhambrook could go ahead, after their original application was rejected by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in February.

But the decision has sparked outrage among MPs and councillors in the area after a swathe of objections to the scheme from residents.

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said the decision was ‘unacceptable’.

“This is an outrageous decision.

“The Localism Act is now law, yet the inspector has placed little weight on the views of local people. Thankfully, the system is being changed to put local people in charge.

“The fact that this inspector has ignored the clear wishes of local people and the national Government is completely unacceptable,” he said.

The family currently have seven caravans on the site and have been seeking permission to increase the capacity to 10 caravans.

However, the intention is for the bulk of the work to be carried out by the borough council at a cost of £750,000, before it is then leased back to the Goodey family.

Also included is the provision of two amenity buildings, new access on to the A143, storage areas and hard-standings for caravans and cars.

Cllr Derek Redhead, St Edmundsbury’s Wickhambrook ward member, said villagers were not happy at the expenditure.

“To spend taxpayers’ money to develop it and hand it back to the family, I think that’s completely wrong.

“I have to be honest, the people who are there are not any trouble at all, but if I make a planning application, I don’t get it built for me and I’m not sure it’s fair,” he said.

Kate Sammons, chairman of Wickhambrook Parish Council, said parish councillors were disappointed in the decision.

“We felt the decision was inappropriate,” she said.

The initial application was rejected by planning committee members in February despite planning and legal officers backing the scheme.

John Popham, planning consultant for the Goodey family, spoke to the Bury Free Press on the family’s behalf.

He said: “They were very pleased to obtain planning permission for the enlargement of their site but they are aware that this is only the first step towards the proposed development.”

Objections to the plans included fears over road safety near the A143 access, building on green belt land and lighting at the site.