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Newent travellers in last ditch appeal to stay in Southend Lane

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 07, 2012

Southend Lane

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TRAVELLERS who moved onto a patch of land three years ago are making a last-ditch bid to stay – despite being ordered to leave on several occasions.

A planning appeal inquiry began at Newent Community Centre yesterday in which the travellers appealed against a decision to evict them from Southend Lane in the town.

The inquiry, which will last for six days, is dealing with two appeals; one against an enforcement notice served by Forest of Dean District Council, and one against the rejection of plans to build a 13-pitch caravan site on the land.

More than 50 people were at the community centre on the first day of the inquiry to hear the opening comments and the impact on biodiversity and ecology at the site.

Planning consultant Peter Tufnell read a statement on behalf of campaign group Newent RAID (Residents Against Inappropriate Development).

He said: "Before the Whitsun weekend invasion it was a quiet, rural area. There was little traffic, it was popular with walkers, there were wildflowers.

"Following the development, there was an immediate rise in the levels of traffic, fewer walkers use the area, residents have reported noise, horses kept there have escaped, there have been two verbal threats and the postman was physically intimidated.

"There appears to be a lack of fairness. The settled community can't avoid the system like the travellers appear to.

"Rights come with responsibility and the onus is on the appellant to provide evidence."

Michael Rudd is the barrister representing the travellers, who have set up more than a dozen plots at the site.

He said: "All the site occupants have a need for is a permanent base. The site is 34 metres from the nearest dwelling and there is no evidence of any impact. The evidence from the council is woefully inaccurate."

Meanwhile, barrister Sarah Clover is representing council.

She said: "The visual impact now is worse than it was in 2010 because of the increased development."

The travellers moved on to the site in May 2009, when they laid tarmac, and installed toilets.

Since then, there have been numerous applications and appeals in what has become a long-running saga.

One concern dealt with on the first day was the issue surrounding the presence of great crested newts on the site in question.

However, Dr Stephanie Ray told the hearing: "It is not a hugely important area for the great crested newt. All data suggests the ponds on site are not suitable for the rare newt."

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  • cheltm2012  |  November 08 2012, 9:04AM

    we need to exercise ubiquitous markets to target value-added infrastructures. then they would seek to optimize synergistic architectures within the nomadic community. bob jones CBC

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  • Beegeeuk  |  November 07 2012, 3:47PM

    Lord Gaga There's always the exception to the rule! In my time I've worked with quite a few Useless Caravan Using Nomadic Travelling Society!!!

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  • Stuntgirl1  |  November 07 2012, 1:53PM

    They won't go simple. Even if they were forced they would only move on and cause the same misery elsewhere. The problem is that their way of life ensures that they have very large families which in time will equal more and more caravans, where will they all go? It's not fair and it's not legal and it causes resentment among law abiding, tax paying citizens. Maybe we should find them a field close to an MP see what happens then.

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  • Lord_Gaga_  |  November 07 2012, 11:36AM

    thats funny Zindafud, but there is a saying, "Caravan Using Nomadic Travelling Society." are useful. .

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  • Zindafud  |  November 07 2012, 11:12AM

    Squatters, no. Travellers, no. Gypsies, no. P1k€ys, no. Political correctness dictates that they are to be known as Caravan Using Nomadic Travelling Society.

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  • he-devil  |  November 07 2012, 10:48AM

    Having been there for 3 years perhaps they should be known as squatters rather than travellers?

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  • Walker100  |  November 07 2012, 10:08AM

    Shouldn't the headline read...... "Travellers in last ditch attempt to get away with breaking the laws that everyone else has to follow"?

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  • Lord_Gaga_  |  November 07 2012, 10:07AM


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  • Zindafud  |  November 07 2012, 9:53AM

    Quote - One concern dealt with on the first day was the issue surrounding the presence of great crested newts on the site in question. - Unquote Not even the newts want these people as neighbours!

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