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Extension bid for new Gypsy site to be debated by planners
PLANS for an extension to an under-construction Gypsy site are to be discussed by a council committee next week.
Applicant Foster Lee wants is seeking permission for a change of use for land at Snipe Lane, near Hurworth.
The plans, which will be considered by Darlington Borough Council’s (DBC) planning committee on Wednesday (September 25) involve laying hardcore for use as residential land for three Gypsy pitches.
A report prepared for members states: “This application forms an extension to an adjacent site currently under construction, which is partly owned by the current applicant.
“[It] is to consist of a mobile home, two touring caravans and a utility building on each plot, to be occupied by Gypsy relations of the applicant.
“The site is screened from Snipe Lane by hedgerows and partially-constructed pitches on adjacent land, but can be seen from the East Coast Main Railway Line to the west.
“The site is surrounded on three sides by boundary trees and hedges.
“While the site is now a brownfield, previously developed site [as preferred by planning policy], the locality does have a history of associations with Gypsy accommodation.
“The land is not designated as being of ecological or landscape significance.”
Hurworth Parish Council has objected on road safety grounds, having debated the issue at a recent meeting.
Parish councillor John Howard, who has strong links to the travelling community, advised against objecting to the Snipe Lane development.
He said the parish council should concentrate on issues it could more easily influence, such as encouraging DBC to press on with plans for an extension to the Gypsy site close to The Northern Echo Arena.
Planning officers are recommending the scheme for approval.
Regarding road safety concerns, the report to members says the Highways Agency has concluded that the limited increase in traffic likely to be created by the development was not sufficient to create a road safety hazard.
DBC has been accused of dithering over the need to provide extra Gypsy accommodation in the borough.
National planners have ordered the council to create extra pitches, but plans to extend existing large-scale sites have stalled, leading to the proliferation of smaller so-called ‘windfall’ sites, such as the one to be debated by the planning committee.
The committee meets at 1.30pm on Wednesday (September 25), at Darlington town hall.
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