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Appeal looks at decision over Northallerton gypsy site
AN INQUIRY over refusal of permission to turn a one acre smallholding into a site for a gypsy family was held today (September 4).
Planning inspector Richard McCoy today looked at Hambleton District Council’s decision to refuse resident David Lovell permission to turn land at Bullamoor, Northallerton into a private single caravan pitch.
The appeal was held at the council’s Civic Centre in Northallerton.
Graham Banks, planning policy manager for the local authority, said the council commissioned a Traveller Housing Needs Study last summer.
The study identified that across Hambleton District, 26 pitches were needed over the next 15 years, 11 of which would be council-run and 15 private.
Mr Banks said these sites would only be available to local gypsies and travellers who had lived in the district for the previous 12 months or who had a family connection to the area.
Speaking on behalf of residents objecting to the proposal, Paul Adamson said if there was a need for a site in the Northallerton area, the study would have identified that.
He also told the hearing the housing needs report concluded most wanted to live in communities of more than one family on a council-managed site and that there wasn’t a demand for single occupancy pitches.
David Stovell, representing the applicant, said historically there was a demand amongst the gypsy community for private, single occupancy family pitches from those who could afford to live on them.
He said such sites were much easier to integrate into the local community and freed up more affordable pitches on public sites.
He told the hearing: “The Gypsy Council for many years has asked the government to encourage them to be much more positive about small family sites.
“Certain gypsy families who can afford to move out of public sites and move to their own site want to do that. They can occupy their site much more efficiently and effectively.
He added: “These large sites are much more difficult to integrate, they’re far more noisy and there’s far more disturbance attached to them.”
Mr Stovell said there was no guarantee any of the other sites identified in the study would get planning permission and they were all open to challenge by local residents.
The inquiry concluded today and the parties will now wait for the planning inspector to return his verdict.