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Row over plans to relax traveller restrictions on Suffolk site

PUBLISHED: 16:08 09 October 2018

The site at Windy Acres in Mutford. Picture: Google

The site at Windy Acres in Mutford. Picture: Google

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Plans for an open gypsy site near Lowestoft have been met with criticism from parish councils ahead of a meeting next week.

The owner of the site, at Windy Acres in Mutford, near Lowestoft, has applied for permission to change the use of the site from named occupiers to a general gypsy and traveller site.

The site already has planning permission for five pitches, but the application will allow any group of travellers to use the site rather than a named family.

Bought by Danny Rooney around six years ago, the site only had permission to be used by members of the Rooney family.

However, in a supporting statement submitted to planning officers it states the application “seeks to remove these onerous conditions to allow any Gypsy or Traveller to occupy the site.”

It adds the site is “likely” to remain a family site despite the application to change the conditions, which they consider “unnecessarily restrictive”.

However, objecting to the plans, Mutford Parish Council stated the application to raise the number of pitches was approved due to the “desperate” need of members of Mr Rooney’s family for additional accommodation.

In their objection, the council state: “As the site is owned by Mr Rooney and he stated strongly that he needed the additional accommodation for members of his family who he proved to be desperate for it, it clearly demonstrated a need for that to be reflected in the permission.”

They argue the new application’s evidence “does not reflect the strength of evidence that Mr Rooney made in support of his application for the additional accommodation”.

The council also argue any additional traveller or gypsy site would further concentrate the balance of provision of sites in the north east of Waveney.

Planning officers have recommended the application for approval due to the under-supply of pitches for gypsy and travellers, alongside potential conditions including ensuring only members of the gypsy and traveller community can use the site.

The decision on the application will be made at a Waveney District Council planning meeting on Tuesday, October 16.

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