Residents feel blind-sided by Gypsy caravan site u-turn
6:02am Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS who vigorously opposed plans for a Gypsy caravan site at Tytherington Road Nursery in Thornbury say they feel blind-sided after the travellers not only failed to stick to their pledge to keep the business running but took steps to have some planning restrictions around the development relaxed.
The Frys' application for six permanent and two transit pitches alongside the nursery was given the go-ahead back in August causing uproar from nearby residents who had fought to see the proposal thrown out.
The traveller family had promised as part of its scheme to take over the business but shut the shop the day after permission for a caravan site was granted.
But what has caused greater concern in the neighbourhood is the Frys' request to have two of the binding conditions imposed in the application scrapped.
The first requires the family to submit full details of the size and design of the mobile homes for approval before putting them on site.
But the Frys fear waiting for the green light from the council might delay their move.
The second clause restricts the size of mobile homes, something which they feel should be flexible to accommodate the varying number of people living in each of them.
Sally Woodbury, the Frys' representative explained in the application: "It is not normal policy to have to give details of mobile homes on private or council gypsy sites."
Regarding the second clause, she added: " This was discussed at pre-planning advice and it was said South Glos did not dictate the size of caravans or mobiles."
This was perceived as a blatant disregard for South Gloucestershire Council's rules by Grovesend Action Group members.
A spokesman called the whole scheme a ‘Trojan Horse’.
He said: “There is now a request from the applicant to remove the conditions imposed upon the approval by the council which were put in place to ensure that the development was restricted to the use and development he had actually applied for.
“Even the nursery closed the day after the approval was made, this despite the assurances to all that this would be a going concern deeply rooted in his wishes to be at the nursery site to teach his children the gypsy life and how to run a business. The application appears to have become the very Trojan Horse development which we warned the council of when it was first disclosed.”
Officers overseeing this latest application have approved modifying the second clause, allowing some leeway regarding the size of the mobile homes, but insisted the first condition be maintained.
Town and district Cllr Maggie Tyrrell said: “Mr Fry said that he would keep the business open and the day after he got permission he closed the busy which was pretty annoying. He implied that it would remain a local business but that’s the trouble: you can’t force someone to run a business.
"They will not have to have a particular size mobile home but they will still have to submit their plans to the council for approval. Every mobile home will have to be approved individually."
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