From the Oxford Times
IT’S time to say “enough is enough” to new Traveller sites, according to Cherwell District Council’s deputy leader.
Councillor George Reynolds has claimed the district could be “littered” with Traveller camps if action is not taken to get the number of applications under control.
He claims Travellers are able to bypass planning laws and build camps in fields or greenbelt sites because a survey relating to the need for spaces was incomplete.
His comments came after an application by Gerry and Kathleen Conners to build a private two-pitch camp.
The proposal, for a former equestrian site off Blackthorn Road near Launton, was rejected because the land was prone to flooding. The couple wanted to keep two mobile homes and two static caravans at the half-hectare site, just outside the village.
Villagers and Launton Parish Council raised concerns over road safety, lack of street lights, and whether there was a need for another Gypsy site in the area.
At the planning meeting to decide the application on May 24, Mr Reynolds claimed the views of the parish council had been “totally ignored”.
He said: “The parish council quite rightly pointed out there are traffic problems.
“Surely whether or not a Traveller site is allowed should be based on (the number of) sites in the district.”
There are 70 Traveller spaces across Cherwell, including eight at greenbelt land near Islip which were approved on appeal last year.
Mr Reynolds said: “In the past 15 months, we have allowed about 30 spaces. I think the time has got to come that we, as a council, have got to have good knowledge of numbers and we have got to have the ability as a council to say enough is enough.”
Mr Reynolds believes there are enough traveller spaces in Cherwell but because a needs survey has not been completed, there is a legal loophole meaning planning applications cannot be refused on the grounds there are other sites in the area.
Planning officer Rebecca Horley said the policy team was working on the survey and hoped to have more information later this month.
Launton councillor David Hughes had “grave concerns” about the Conners’ proposal because the entrance to the site was on a bend.
Mr and Mrs Conner’s agent, Dr Angus Murdoch of Murdoch Planning, was unavailable for comment.