Anger at Earnley ‘travellers’ site

A PLANNING application was withdrawn from a council meeting at the eleventh hour after residents expressed anger at a ‘disregard of due process’.
Michael Frith at the site of the proposed travellers site PICTURE BY LOUISE ADAMS LA1500132-1Michael Frith at the site of the proposed travellers site PICTURE BY LOUISE ADAMS LA1500132-1
Michael Frith at the site of the proposed travellers site PICTURE BY LOUISE ADAMS LA1500132-1

An initial application for four mobile homes on land at Marsh Farm in Drove Lane, Earnley, was due to be debated by Chichester District Council’s (CDC) planning committee last week (May 27).

Officers recommended approval of the plan, however it was withdrawn and head of planning services at CDC Andrew Frost said the council needed to ‘seek clarification from the applicants about the proposed development’.

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Nearby homeowner Sandy Oxley said the application was of ‘great concern’ to residents: “This planning application is not only of great concern to residents in the area, but also to any property owner and anyone interested in the rule of law.

“The original planning application was made for ‘four residential caravans’ and without notice or public consultation the planning officers, are recommending the planning committee permit the application, and the site be designated a ‘gypsy and traveller site’. This is a fundamental and material change to the original application, the report was not available for viewing by the public, as required, five working days before the committee date. There has been a total disregard of due process. The wider concern is the scheme has materially changed and has not been carried out with due public consultation.

“It appears the change of designation was documented in November 2014 but the documents were not made public. I suggest the public have a look for themselves at the site, which is adjacent to the Medmerry Scheme, and ask the question, where are the traveller caravans likely to park? This should be addressed before the council incurs further expense or wastes valuable time and resources. The council needs to acknowledge the needs and rights of all stakeholders.”

A CDC spokesman said: “The application was withdrawn from the agenda so that further clarification could be sought about the nature of the proposed development. At this point in time no date has been set for when the application will be heard by the committee. We have started consultation again and letters were sent to nearby occupiers last week.”

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