Plans for a new travellers site in Elm look set to be rejected after applicant fails to demonstrate ‘need’

Plans for a new travellers site in Newbridge Lane, Elm look set to be rejected after applicant fails to demonstrate 'need' for eight pitches/.

Plans for a new travellers site with eight pitches look set to be rejected by Fenland planners when they meet later today (Wednesday).

An application by Esther Smith for an eight-pitch travelers site on land south of Newbridge Lane Caravan Park in Elm, is recommended for refusal despite support from the parish council.

A report to today’s Fenland Planning Committee explains that whilst the families who want to use the new site meet the definition of ‘gyspsy status’ the application does not prove the need for eight new travellers’ pitches in the district.

It explains that planning policy states permission for sites in the countryside, like this one, will be granted provided there is evidence of ‘need’.

However, the report said: “Extensive discussions with the applicant’s agent were necessary to clarify the information necessary to satisfy the need for further travellers pitches.

“The case office believes that adequate clarification has not been received and is therefore not satisfied that there’s a need for further pitches in the district - therefore the proposal is recommended for refusal.”

Elm Parish Council have no objection “on the understanding that there will be no future extension of the site.”

However, the report said the district’s five year housing land supply report states there is only a need for six new pitches over the next five years (2016 to 2021).

The application is before the committee as the parish council and the officer’s have differing views.

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