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Limit the Gypsy site numbers?

(May 10, 2015)

Another group of residents in Warminster once again face defeat this week as opposition to building on wetland this time by a romany gypsy proposal faces acceptance of the eight pitches by Wiltshire Council planners.

A plan for homes for travellers at Bath Road have the go-ahead of council officers but local councillor Pip Ridout has insisted that the decision is taken by elected members.

In a twist to this the decision by councillors was taken away from the Western area planning committee and is now a 'strategic' issue outside their ability to decide. (see hot snippet 1 May and hot topic 29 April)

A 14 page report reveals that the Wiltshire Core Strategy and the town development limits have little weight as the Inspector appointed to approve it 'expressed concern about whether the Council's approach towards gypsies and travellers was consistent with national policy'.

Alarm bells are ringing for campaigners against the idea after reading: 'Whilst the Core Strategy has now been adopted new traveller sites will remain as a strategic rather than a local issue until the Gypsy and Traveller DPD (Development Plan Document) currently being worked on is adopted'.

In an e-mail last week to the town council, their planning chairman Mayor-elect Sue Fraser, and local residents, Cllr Ridout issued a rallying call to a meeting on Thursday 7th 'to decide on three speakers' at the county hall meeting this Wednesday (13th May).

'I am happy to leave in your hands, but have we received any revised plan that takes into account the statutory demarcations for the Gas and Water mains,' local resident Tony Nicklin replied declining the chance to speak.

'These restrictions will change the site layout and could restrict the numbers that will be allowed.'

The report recommends approval with conditions having rejected concerns about flooding, highway safety and sustainability issues.

This is a repeat of another controversial decision at county hall which last year saw another 'exception' made outside the development line for Warminster at the Boreham Crossroads by the River Wylye.

*Land adjacent to 89 Bath Road Warminster Wiltshire BA12 8PA application number 14/10457/FUL

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