Refuse gypsy site, councillors urged

PLANNING consent for a gypsy camp near the mushroom farm between St Ives and Somersham should be refused, councillors will be told on Monday (May 22). A family wants permission to put eight caravans on the field in St Ives Road, Woodhurst, and to graze po

PLANNING consent for a gypsy camp near the mushroom farm between St Ives and Somersham should be refused, councillors will be told on Monday (May 22).

A family wants permission to put eight caravans on the field in St Ives Road, Woodhurst, and to graze ponies there.

An earlier application was refused in 2003 and an appeal failed because the inspector thought the development would harm the character and appearance of the area.

Since then a report for Cambridgeshire County Council has identified the need for 20-35 additional pitches in the county between 2005 and 2010, but Huntingdonshire planners believe the site should not accommodate any of them.


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They will urge the district council's development control panel to turn down the new application, but not to enforce lack of consent in the magistrates' court until suitable sites have been identified elsewhere in the district, a task that is likely to take several months. Planners say the applicant has genuine gypsy status "and his personal circumstances and human rights were taken into account as material".

The Commission for Racial Equality this week also urged councils to provide more legal sites for itinerant families to promote their health, education and welfare and to prevent tension with settled communities.

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At present, the only such site in Huntingdonshire is east of the railway line at St Neots, operated by Huntingdonshire Housing Partnership on behalf of the county council.

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