The green light has been given to plans to allow up to 12 Gypsy and Traveller families to live on land north of Burwell.

The site off First Drove, already had planning permission for six pitches for Gypsy and Traveller families, but this had not been fully built out.

The owner of the land, Thomas Pateman, asked East Cambridgeshire District Council for permission to increase the number of pitches allowed up to 12.

Each plot is proposed to include one mobile/chalet home, one touring caravan, and a day room.

The planning documents submitted to the district council said: “The site is brownfield and has had many commercial uses over the years, which are visible from the various alterations to the building.

“At present the site is vacant and very untidy, the cold store building is also less than aesthetically pleasing.

“The previous application was accompanied by land contamination reports to confirm the site is suitable for the use intended.

“Mr Pateman and his family were all born Gypsy/Travellers, the proposed six additional pitches – 12 pitches in total – will only be occupied by Gypsy/Travellers.

“It is proposed that Mr Pateman will live on the first plot and act as manager for the site.

“As he owns the site he will take overall responsibility and ensure it remains tidy.

“He has also endeavoured to take control of the fly tipping issue along the section of First Drove nearest to his development.

“To the back of the site will be a designated paddock area and pond for use by all 12 pitches, this will also provide a recreational area for children.

“It is proposed that the existing cold store building will be demolished as part of the proposed development.”

A report prepared by planning officers at the district council said the authority is currently unable to “adequately demonstrate” that it has a five-year supply of pitches for Gypsy and Traveller families.

It added that this was a “significant material consideration” in making a decision on the application.

The report said the development would “not significantly detract from the rural and open character” of the area, and was not expected to lead to any “severe harm” in transport terms, or cause any additional noise above what would be expected in a residential area.

The application was therefore approved by the district council.