Showpeople seek home at Warboys site

14:51 08 December 2012

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Archant

A FAMILY of showpeople wants to set up its permanent quarters in a field off the A141 at Warboys.

Richard Hart and his wife, Rebecca, who belong to the Showmen’s Guild, have asked Huntingdonshire District Council for permission to change the use of the agricultural land off Heath Road to provide a site for their family and up to three others.

If the council agrees, they would store their equipment there when not travelling, and their children, aged 13, 10 and three would attend local schools. Bothe Mr Hart’s and Mrs Hart’s parents would also live on the 1.15-hectare site.

“With many travelling showpeople having suffered from poor education in the past, it is vital for the upcoming generation to be well educated, and this can be provided with close links to schools, enabling education to take place within the schools when the children are on the quarters site, and with travelling education service packages when they are out travelling with their parents,” their agents say.

They add that Warboys is in the centre of the area containing the sites of fairs regularly attended by the Harts, who currently winter in Norwich at a site from which they will be displaced.

Andy Moffatt, HDC’s development manger, has told the Harts that the council’s policy is to limit approval of new traveller sites away from existing settlements, though the chosen site is close to Warboys. Nonetheless, HDC’s preference has in the past been for smaller showmen’s sites – for a single family.

He adds that the now-defunct regional planning strategy for the East of England did not identify the need for any provision for travelling showpeople in Huntingdonshire.

He stresses, however, that his provisional advice is offered without prejudice to how planners or councillors may determine the application.

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