Westbourne Parish Council has complained of being ‘unfairly targeted’ after Chichester District Council permitted a proposal for four travelling showperson’s plots.
The application was one of three gypsy and traveller sites on land in Cemetery Lane, Woodmancote, considered by CDC in a meeting yesterday (Wednesday July 20).
The one approved plan will see eight mobile homes in four travelling showperson’s plots join the 19 pitches already situated on the land off the lane.
Speaking out about concerns for Westbourne’s infrastructure, Westbourne parish councillor Richard Hitchcock said: “Why is Westbourne being treated so shabbily?
“There are currently 32 gypsy traveller pitches with plans to build five more – this is already double the number that existed three years ago.”
Mr Hitchcock added: “Consultation undertaken in the context of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan has shown that residents of Westbourne are extremely worried about the disproportionate number of gypsy traveller sites in the parish.”
However, developing agent Joe Cunnane disagreed that the proposed applications would put strain on the community.
He said: “In terms of the number of residents for these three sites, we are looking at about 100 people.
“This means a five per cent rise in population – I don’t think any reasonable person can say this is ‘overwhelming’.”
Chairman of the meeting, Cllr Robert Hayes stated that the plans would positively contribute to the need of gypsy and traveller pitches set out in the local plan.
Meanwhile, Westbourne parish councillor Piers Mason argued the traveller site proposals were undermining their Neighbourhood Plan.
Chichester District Council’s head of planning Andrew Frost disagreed and said Mr Mason’s argument was premature as their plan is not yet published.
Cllr Julie Tassell said she ‘could not support the three applications’.
“We need housing and we need gypsy sites but we don’t need them all in the same place – looking at the figures I can’t believe how many places have zero gypsy traveller sites,” she said.
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