Travellers’ site expansion gets thumbs up

Site of the proposed expansion of a travellers' site at Wentworth

Site of the proposed expansion of a travellers' site at Wentworth - Credit: ECDC

A complicated assessment of ‘need’ has been provided by a council in their decision to allow expansion of a travellers’ site.  

Planners concluded that the “very low known need” of additional traveller pitches means that ‘need’ was granted very little weight in deciding the application. 

“However, it can be assumed there is likely to be ‘unknown need’ for gypsy and traveller pitches,” says the report by East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

“And this should be afforded weight in the determination of this application, especially in the context of the very limited number of allocated sites.” 

The council has agreed to allow land to the east of Fenview, Church Road, Wentworth, to be used for three additional pitches. 

At present the land is used in conjunction with an existing traveller pitch ‘Fenview’, which was granted permission in 1975. 

Officers concluded that the application for three pitches adds weight to the ‘unknown need’.  

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“The council should not reject this proposal on the basis that there is no need,” they said. 

“There is probably some limited need and this would not be out of keeping with the aims of the policy.” 

Officers said they met the applicant on site who told them his plan is to have the whole site for his family including grandparents; parents; sister; nephew and himself.  

They are currently living in different places and he wants them to be one family unit on the site.  

The council says the site has always been available to the traveller and gypsy community and there is no reason to doubt that this has changed.  

The site is within the parish of Wentworth, although with road links to Stretham, Wilburton and Witchford.  

Wentworth and Wilburton parish councils opposed the extension.  

But officers found that the site is already established as part of the gypsy and traveller community “and would not unbalance the settled community of Wentworth”.  

“The site is central to the gypsy and traveller community in this area.  

“It is surrounded by other sites used by this community and forms part of an existing pitch”.  

Each pitch within the site has space for a mobile home, a touring van and two parking spaces with each pitch being in excess of 200 square metres.  

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