Villagers in fear of site expansion

PUBLISHED: 13:14 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:28 04 May 2010

A CALL for the resignation of Little Downham Parish Council came on Friday as angry villagers met to discuss new plans for a gypsy site. Tempers flared as 300 protesters packed into the village hall to fight plans which could see land at Third Drove sold

A CALL for the resignation of Little Downham Parish Council came on Friday as angry villagers met to discuss new plans for a gypsy site.

Tempers flared as 300 protesters packed into the village hall to fight plans which could see land at Third Drove sold to travellers on the open market.

They were angry with parish councillors, claiming they had not done enough to fight an original application for caravans at Third Drove.

Now the village is facing a new threat as plans go before the district council to change one of the conditions on the original planning permission.

Traveller, David Boswell, and his family, who won permission for caravans and a day room on the former agricultural land, want planners to lift a condition which restricts the site to just their family.

If given the go-ahead it would leave Mr Boswell free to sell the land on the open market which residents fear could lead to a massive travellers' site in the village.

One villager, who asked not to be named, said: "There is a lot of resentment in the village. Some believe the parish council did not do enough to stop the original application.

"They neglected to register a footpath on the land. It was their duty to do that.

"This is really tearing the parish to pieces. People are getting really nervous about this situation.

"We will be sending individual letters of objection."

Villagers are still campaigning to get a footpath registered on the land which, they believe, would have made it difficult for the original application to have been granted.

Little Downham Parish Council chairman, Cllr Alan White, defended the parish council's position, saying: "There was a complaint that we didn't make as much fuss about the original application as we should have done. But we did as much as we could legally do.

"There was no support for this application at the meeting. If it goes to the planning committee I believe it will be turned down but it might go to appeal."

Now East Cambridgeshire District Council is waiting official confirmation of the parish council's view on the planning application which could be decided under officers' delegated powers without going before the planning committee.

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