Controversial Gypsy site in Brafferton, near Darlington, approved by inspector (From The Northern Echo)
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Controversial Gypsy site in Brafferton, near Darlington, approved by inspector
A GYPSY family have been given permission to live on a residential caravan site on the outskirts of Darlington, despite objections from nearby residents.
The application by Romany Gypsy Reuben Rogers for retrospective planning permission to use the land in Aycliffe Lane, Brafferton, near Darlington, for three touring caravans, one static caravan and an amenity block was refused by Darlington Borough Council in November last year.
However, following an appeal, planning inspector David Rose has ruled that Mr Rogers and three generations of his family can stay at the site they would have nowhere else to go in Darlington, or the surrounding area.
In a document outlining his decision, he raised concerns over the number of legal traveller sites in Darlington saying: “In the absence of an alternative site, the family could be faced with eviction and an uncertain prospect at the roadside.
“It is clear that this would have a significant adverse effect on the welfare, educational and social needs of the family as a whole.
“It is common ground that the Tees Valley Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment, published in January 2009, identified a need for 76 additional pitches in Darlington in the period 2007 to 2016.
“At the date of the hearing only eight additional pitches had been approved.”
The approval is subject to a number of conditions, meaning that, if the family moves on from the site, then all caravans, structures and equipment must be removed, and the land must be restored to its original condition.
He also ruled no commercial activities would be permitted on the site.
However, Bill Wood, parish spokesperson for Brafferton, said the news came as a disappointment to villagers who have seen a number of plots of land in and around the village turned into Gypsy sites over recent years.
He said: “We have got the feeling we are being surrounded by gypsy sites. We are stuck - we can object as much as we like, we have raised funds to pay for solicitors to fight our corners but it seems we have lost before we have even started.
“I thought they allowed for local groups of people to have a say and be taken notice of, but it seems they have taken no notice of the voice of the villagers at all.”
Councillor Brian Jones, ward member for Sadberge and Whessoe, said: “The decision really comes as no surprise.
“The situation with the unmet demand for sites in Darlington is huge - they have placed a hugely disproportionate demand on Darlington.”
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