Mass opposition for traveller plan

September 2, 2009 12:00 AM
In Brentwood Weekly News

A GROUP of councillors have said they will oppose plans to allow a traveller to keep his home on green belt land in Pilgrims Hatch.

The controversial application, which would see William Eastwood being granted temporary permission to stay at his site in Beads Hill Lane, in Pilgrims Hatch, went before Brentwood Council's planning bosses at a meeting held last night.

Ahead of the meeting, three senior councillors told the Weekly News they planned to speak out and urge the refusal of the application.

A number of residents have also written to the council opposing the plans.

Mr Eastwood has applied to keep his mobile home at the site and also wants to build a stable and a day room.

Barry Aspinell, Lib Dem councillor for Pilgrims Hatch, said: "I'm totally against this planning application at this site at this time, because I believe it is precipitous.

"The whole subject of traveller status is going out to consultation, and until we get the results of that, I think it would be dangerous to make a decision.

"I am predicting a huge vote against this site becoming one of the 15 designated sites when the consultation comes back."

Mr Aspinell's comments about council traveller sites come after the Government told Brentwood Council it has to provide 15 new plots by 2011, as part of a national drive to provide more space for travellers.

The council is considering where to put these extra plots in its Gipsy and Travellers Development Plan Document (DPD), and the Beads Hill Lane site is one of those being considered.

A report by council officers has suggested the council should grant Mr Eastwood planning permission for three years while it makes a decision where the 15 plots will be located.

Brentwood currently has 10 authorised plots, spread over seven different sites, which are all on green belt land.

It is feared if permission is denied Mr Eastwood could appeal, potentially costing the council thousands of pounds.