AN INVESTIGATION has been launched by the borough council after it received complaints relating to a Gypsy pitch.

A spokesperson for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) said its planning enforcement officers are “currently investigating alleged breaches” at land in Dixon Road, Taylors Lane, Sherfield-on-Loddon. 

The land was granted planning permission following an appeal by the landowner in 2020 for two caravans; one static and one touring.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Mystery surrounds why dozens of trees have been felled in Sherfield-on-LoddonThe application was initially refused by BDBC in 2017 to change the use of the land to a ‘Gypsy pitch’ for a caravan and mobile home for residential purposes.

The council said at the time that the development, within a woodland area, “would result in a permanent physical intrusion, which would also prevent the natural regeneration of the woodland and the opportunity for this woodland to positively contribute towards the landscape character in the long term”.

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More than 500 trees on the land were illegally felled in 2014 resulting in the land owners being handed a £14,000 fine.

The council also raised concerns that the proposed development would pose “an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of future occupiers of the site from military ordnance attributed to historic land uses”.

It said: “In having due regard to the potential scale and seriousness of the potential risk, it is deemed in the public interest, that the level of risk outweighs the benefits of the development.”

A council spokesperson said its officers are now investigating the “alleged breaches” at the site, which it said “may go beyond the scope of the planning permission”.