Extra mobile home to be added to traveller site on edge of Banbury area village despite councillors' objections

"Many local people said they wanted to object to this application but felt unable to do so because of the perceived threat to them and their families" - Cllr Mark Burstall, chairman of Warmington and Arlescote Parish Council

By Local Democracy Reporter David Lawrence
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 10:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 10:20 pm

An extra mobile home is to be added to a gypsy and traveller site on the edge of a Banbury area village after councillors gave plans the green light at their meeting this week.

It will mean that four mobile homes along with a touring caravan and an amenity building will now be sited off Mollington Lane, Warmington, with all the residents being related.

Objections had been raised by the parish council and the local district councillor along with two members of the public and committee members were told others living in the village were opposed to the plans but were too scared to come forward.

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Extra mobile home to be added to traveller site on edge of Banbury area village despite councillors' objections

Cllr Mark Burstall, chairman of Warmington and Arlescote Parish Council, said: “There is already a great deal of tension between the settled community and the travellers.

"Many local people said they wanted to object to this application but felt unable to do so because of the perceived threat to them and their families.

"If you decide to grant this application then something must be done to resolve this issue.

“The need for pitches should not be exaggerated - in nearby Farnborough there are insufficient travellers to take up the available pitches.

“This is an attempt to increase the number of traveller pitches on the site by one.

"It may not sound very much but in reality it is a 33 per cent increase. Once again the applicant has seen fit to act first and then make a retrospective application once found out.”

Ward member Cllr John Fielding (Con, Red Horse) added: “I respect the needs of the travelling community and I’m not against helping them find suitable sites - but this application is one of many that could be classified as creeping development.”

Planning officer Erin Weatherstone explained that while there might be vacancies on pitches outside of the district, Stratford District Council had a shortfall of 59 and some of this could be met through the intensification of existing traveller sites.

In her report to councillors she added: “ In this case there are not considered to be any alternative sites and the personal circumstances of the applicant have been considered, including the personal links of the new occupiers with the applicant.”

The plans were approved by a majority decision.

Cllr Bill Fleming (Con, Bidford West and Salford) added: “We have refused them in the past and inspectors always overturn them.

"Stratford does have a shortage of sites so from that perspective it is always difficult to get these things stopped.”