Friday, 8 June 2012

Anger as Gypsy family moves on to Southwick site days after planning application is rejected - Wiltshire

From This Is Wiltshire

A Gypsy family has moved onto a field at Southwick just three days after their plans to put a mobile home and day room on the site were refused.

Villagers say they are furious at the arrival of Theresa and Lawrance Cash and their eight children. They say that the move flies in the face of the decision to reject the planning application for Poplar Tree Lane by the Western Area Planning Committee last Wednesday.

The Cash family apparently own the site and are entitled to use it but the move has angered residents, more than 100 of which opposed the application.

Nearby resident Graham Hall said: "There are currently two caravans on site, one of which has a double axle and is about 30 feet long and another which appears to be a smaller touring van.

"If Wiltshire Council are unable to resolve this immediately, there is talk of the villagers withholding their council tax until action is taken to remove these people or the council tax for those properties in the affected areas has been reassessed to reflect the impact that this occupation will cause."

Planning permission for a stable was previously granted, and that has already been built, but councillors rejected the latest application for a mobile home over fears that it would be an unsuitable place for Mr and Mrs Cash’s children to live.

Philip Harcourt, a resident of Poplar Tree Lane, said: "This is a flagrant disregard of the planning refusal and the council should be taking action.

"They have been converting the stables on the site into what appears to be a day room, which is non-compliant with the permission they have got for that and flies in the face of planning law."

The only way the family could be ejected from the field at present is if Wiltshire Council deemed it to be unfit for living on, but even then the council would find it a lengthy and tricky process.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation, and visited the site over the weekend. Two caravans have been moved onto the site, however no other development has taken place.

"As required by law, we will be reviewing the occupiers’ circumstances. Until our inquiries have been completed we are unable to comment further."

The field does not have a proper water supply and a generator is being used to provide power.

Mrs Cash last week vowed to appeal against the councillors’ decision and it is understood she is standing by her promise.

Last week she said: "I want a fair decision, not a prejudiced one. They never gave me a chance to have my say. I want to appeal this straight away."

Another plan for a mobile home at nearby Hoopers Pool by another Gypsy family was to be decided upon at a meeting on June 20. It is understood that it is increasingly unlikely it will be discussed at that meeting.

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