Traveller site in Bishops Green given expansion green light

Traveller site set to be expanded

Traveller site set to be expanded

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A TRAVELLER site in Bishops Green is set to be extended after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council gave the green light to a plan to expand it.

Neville and Esther Hamblin applied to the borough council for planning permission to provide two additional mobile homes and an amenity building at the Meadowview Caravan Site, in Rooksfield, Bishops Green in June 2013.

Currently, there is one mobile home at the site which is occupied by the couple, but Mr and Mrs Hamblin want the new homes for their children, Lance and Lucy to live in.

The application was previously deferred by the development control committee in May after questions were raised as to whether the couple’s children had gypsy status.

But the committee was again tasked with deciding whether to approve or reject the application after Geoff Scrutton, a gypsy and traveller liaison officer at the borough council, conducted an independent review into the status of the two children.

After conducting interviews with both Lance and Lucy Hamblin, Mr Scrutton concluded that the pair should have gypsy status.

In a report to the development control committee, Mr Scrutton said that Lance Hamblin should have gypsy status as he had a “nomadic habit of life”, his travelling is connected to his work, and he intends to continue travelling in the future.

He also concluded that Lucy should be granted traveller status as she is “very aware and proud of her gypsy lifestyle” and she intends to lead a “nomadic way of life”.

Labour and Popley East councillor David Potter moved a motion to approve the application at the meeting, recalling that concerns had been raised over the amount of space needed to house the new mobile homes.

He added: “I think these constraints have been satisfied and I would move for approval on this application.”

Cllr Mike Bound, Liberal Democrat ward member for Baughurst and Tadley North, agreed, adding: “I think this will go on and on forever with people not agreeing with it one side or another. My view last time was that it should be approved, and it hasn’t changed.”

However, concerns were raised by Cllr Diane Taylor, Conservative member for Oakley and North Waltham, who said: “It is not in a sustainable location. I am erring towards a refusal on this one.”

The application was approved after a majority of councillors on the committee voted in favour of the proposal.

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