Let us live in harmony, Hunts travellers to ask inspector

A PLANNING inspector will be asked later this month to let a Huntingdonshire travelling family settle permanently on land it owns in the district.

Six years ago, traveller Fred Adams, who is living temporarily in Huntingdon, bought a 0.8-hectare patch of pasture land beside Chatteris Road, Somersham, with a view to providing a home for his extended family.

In particular, he wanted somewhere for his disabled parents to move from their temporary home in Wyton.

Since then, he has submitted a number of planning applications, the most recent for six pitches and alternatively two pitches, one for his immediate family and the other for his parents.

At one time, planning officers recommended that Huntingdonshire District Council’s (then) development control panel grant planning consent, but councillors went against that recommendation after overwhelming public opposition. The planners did not support a more recent application.

After that was refused, Mr Adams lodged an appeal, which will be heard by a planning inspector in Huntingdon on Tuesday-Thursday, January 25-27.

He hopes the inspector will set aside what he believes is racially-motivated local prejudice and let his family move in.

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The appeal, which Mr Adams says is costing the family thousands of pounds, will be led by planning consultant Matthew Green, who has been successful in securing other temporary consents for travelling families elsewhere in the district.

“Considering they have just passed the sex shop closer to Sawtry than this application is to Somersham, you wonder whether a couple of mobile homes would be more offensive than a sex shop,” he told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday). “Unfortunately, the Romany and gypsy community is at the blunt edge of the sword.

“The reasons for refusal were racially motivated, but that’s not going to be part of our case. The planning facts are as plain as the nose on your face.

“We have disabled people living in sub-standard conditions who want to live on their own land, and we will implement any conditions the council thinks appropriate.”

Mr Adams is particularly hurt that his family is portrayed by local prejudice as common thieves and criminals.

“We are Christian people and patriotic British citizens. Members of my family have died for this country. We have been in Huntingdonshire for generations. My great-great-grandparents were married here,” he said.

“I’m praying that common sense will prevail and that we shall be able to live on the land in harmony with the neighbours and the rest of the community. We don’t bear any malice: we have had to be very tolerant, even though my children get picked on at school.”