Concerns over plans to redraw green belt land for Gypsy site

Travellers on the  green space in nearby Hatton Park.

Travellers on the green space in nearby Hatton Park.

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Warwick District Council has confirmed is still considering land between Hatton and Budbrooke for a Gypsy site as hundreds attended a meeting to oppose the plans.

Over 300 villagers from Budbrooke and Hatton Park came out to voice concerns, worries and upset at plans.

We appreciate that the council has a duty to find 31 pitches for traveller sites but Oaklands Farm is a totally unsuitable site for this purpose

Frank Roper

Filling the village hall, residents expressed frustration that land known as Oaklands Farm near Ugly Bridge Road is still being considered for a 15-pitch Gypsy and traveller site.

Under proposals - and despite being previously rejected - the council could redraw the greenbelt to allow for the move after plans were deemed unsuitable due to the protected status of the site.

The meeting was chaired by Chris White MP and was attended by residents, the Hampton Magna Residents’ Association and Hatton and Budbrooke Parish Councils.

Councillors told those present that “there is a lot of work to be done before any decision is taken as to whether this potential site is proposed as an allocation”.

Frank Roper, chair of the residents’ association, said as nothing has changed since the last application was rejected for being unsuitable there is no reason for it to be put forward again.

He said: “Nothing has changed and there is no justification for attempting to take it out of the green belt to get around this legislation.

“We appreciate that the council has a duty to find 31 pitches for traveller sites and that it is requirement of the Local Plan that they do so but Oaklands Farm is a totally unsuitable site for this purpose.”

Rejecting the plan last time, council officers stated that there would need to be an acceptable, sustainable and deliverable need to remove the land from the green belt if this was to be a future option.

All objections already sent to the council on the matter will be discarded, and cannot be accepted until a formal planning application is made.

A council spokesperson said: “There is no application for this site and there has been no decision as to whether this site will be a Gypsy and traveller site.

“In terms of objections received over the last couple of weeks, we will be unable to take these in to account if we undertake a consultation.

“If the site is ultimately proposed for a Gypsy and traveller site, we will prepare a specific consultation document on which a formal consultation can be based.”

The Oaklands Farm land is for sale, and backs onto the Hatton Flight of Locks.