Plans for showman’s yards in Wilburton refused by council

PLANS to convert former agricultural land in Wilburton into two new showman’s yards have been flatly refused by East Cambs District Council.

James Gilby and Raymond Pearson applied for permission to use two acres of land in Whitecross Road as storage and accommodation for travelling showman, their equipment and families.

The land was originally purchased in 1997 and has seen problems with flytipping and unauthorised traveller camps.

In their submission, the applicants said: “This proposal will create residential and commercial provision for two families with strong local ties who currently occupy overcrowded accommodation.”

They added that the development would have little impact on the landscape or the visual amenity of the area.

The council disagreed however, with case officer Penelope Mills saying in her report: “Any form of development on the northern side of White Cross Road, other than the prevailing agricultural use, is likely to have a significant impact on the character of the area, with an adverse effect on visual amenity and the setting of Wilburton.

“The proposed development is no exception, and given the sort of structures and machinery that are often associated with travelling show people’s plots, the visual impact would be likely to be particularly adverse.”

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District and county councillor Bill Hunt, added: “As I read this application, it is for development for the north of White Cross Road. This, in my view, would be unacceptable encroachment into the countryside. Any extension of use in that area has all sorts of drainage, road capacity and floor risk issues but this is even more wrong.”

Wilburton Parish Council also objected to the plans, citing concerns about overdevelopment at the site.

The applicants will have six months to appeal the decision.