Outcry over plans for new travellers’ site in Whaplode St Catherine

A new gypsy/travellers' site capable of catering for up to eight caravans has been indentified for Whaplode St Catherine.  
Photo:  SG191012-263TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
A new gypsy/travellers' site capable of catering for up to eight caravans has been indentified for Whaplode St Catherine. Photo: SG191012-263TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
  • Future development of land for ‘nomadic way of life’ revealed
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Whaplode St Catherine villagers are up in arms over plans to create a gypsy/traveller site in their village.

A blueprint for future development in South Holland over the next 20 years has identified a section of farmland in Mill Gate for use by up to four families or eight caravans.

A section of farmland in Whaplode St Catherine (known as Whaplode Fen) which has been allocated as a "proposed residential gypsy/traveller site", according to the latest draft of the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan 2017.  Photo supplied.

A section of farmland in Whaplode St Catherine (known as Whaplode Fen) which has been allocated as a "proposed residential gypsy/traveller site", according to the latest draft of the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan 2017. Photo supplied.

During a meeting at Whaplode St Catherine Memorial Hall on Wednesday, villagers told Whaplode Parish Council members that they had been “kept in the dark” over the plans, which only came to light days earlier.

Villager Carl Rout said: “It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t in the January 2016 draft Local Plan, nor the revision for June 2016.

“But luckily South Holland District Council and Boston Borough Council managed to get it in for the April 2017 revision.

“How convenient that when everybody else had 52 weeks to respond to the January 2016 version, we’ve got just 45 days.

I feel that Whaplode St Catherine residents have been kept in the dark and given no time to decide whether it will affect them or if it is suitable for the proposed use

Carl Rout, Whaplode St Catherine

“I feel that Whaplode St Catherine residents have been kept in the dark and given no time to decide whether it will affect them or if it is suitable for the proposed use.”

Another villager Ian Brown said: “Apparently, Bleu Raye Farm ticks a number of boxes as a travellers’ site.

“But a number of planning applications have been turned down in the past over the narrowness of Mill Gate, yet now this is considered to be a suitable site.

“My view is that the people here should have their views taken into account because there’s a danger that just because the Local Plan thinks it’s a good idea that it should go ahead.”

The latest draft of the Local Plan states that, between 2011 and 2036, South Hollland will need “four new permanent residential pitches for gypsies and travellers, plus an unknown need for up to 13 additional residential pitches which may arise”.

A spokesman for the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, producers of the Local Plan, said: “The Publication Version, as approved by the committee, will be the subject of a final round of consultation and the consultation period will run from Monday, April 10, to Monday, May 22.

“It will be the last chance for people to comment on the Local Plan before it is submitted to the Secretary of State (for Communities and Local Government) in the summer.

“This consultation will be different to previous ones undertaken in that the comments made must relate to whether the Local Plan is ‘sound’ and complies with legal and procedural requirements.

“All comments received will be submitted to the Secretary of State and considered as part of an independent examination in public by a planning inspector.”