Henham residents to fight proposed gypsy and traveller site

Henham parish council chairman Nick Baker said the location of the proposed gypsy and traveller site

Henham parish council chairman Nick Baker said the location of the proposed gypsy and traveller site was not appropriate. - Credit: Archant

Henham residents are preparing to fight a proposed gypsy and travellers site they say is “totally unsuitable” for the area.

Last week, the owner of Hill Top Yard on the outskirts of the village submitted two planning applications to turn the Mill Road site from a haulage yard into a compound for travellers.

Residents’ fears about the site were confirmed after the applications were submitted, one as part of the Local Plan, the other a specific planning application to site five pitches.

“We don’t think it’s an appropriate location for the travellers’ site,” Henham parish council chairman Nick Baker told the Reporter.

“It’s outside of the development area and the site has been refused planning permission for housing in the past.”

Writing to residents on the Henham parish website after the applications were lodged, Mr Baker, who is also leader of the Save our Villages (SoV) protest group, said: “The site lies outside the development area of Henham and is totally unsuitable for use as a travellers site.

“We have engaged consultants and lawyers to provide advice and represent our views. The parish councillors and district councillors have been in extensive dialogue with Uttlesford District Council (UDC) enforcement about the use of this site since November 2014 and until now have been given repeated assurance by them,” he wrote.

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Mr Baker added that Henham parish council would meet with UDC planners this week to discuss the situation, and also raised concerns of perimeter lights on the site, the subject of a separate planning application, currently lodged with UDC.

He adds: “Now that the intentions of the landowner are in the public domain and the position is no longer conjecture, the parish council will start affirmative action to fight these applications. A campaign team will be formed to co-ordinate action and we ask that any resident interested in helping forward their name to NickBakerSOV@aol.com ASAP.

“The legal route to obtain permission for this travellers site is still a long way off and we have time to articulate a strong case against. Be assured we will make this case.”

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