Villagers in Braunston unite to oppose gipsy site

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ANGRY residents are linking up to fight a proposal for a gipsy site in their village.

Land in Brooke Road, Braunston, has been put forward as a potential travellers’ site by the landowner after Rutland County Council appealed for possible sites for development last year.

About 300 people packed into Braunston Village Hall on Wednesday evening for a meeting hosted by the parish council to discuss the idea.

A field alongside the land has also been suggested as a possible site for affordable housing.

At the meeting parish council chairman Chris Bichard said: “There are strict conditions when planning a gipsy and traveller site.

“There has to be schools, shops, doctors; surgeries and preferably be on the edge of a town.

“We feel this village is not appropriate as non of this criteria is met.”

The site is currently out to consultation as part of the Local Development Framework which the county council is putting together to replace the Rutland Local Plan and the Supplementary Planning Guide. It will set out potential sites for development up to 2026.

Residents have until November 30 to object.

Residents agreed to form a committee to advise villagers on how to write a formal letter to oppose the idea and how to fill out the county council’s objection forms.

Mr Bichard said: “It is vital that we all return these forms giving our reasons against the plans and they must be planning reasons,” he said.

It was agreed the committee would call on the advice of parishioners in Belton-in-Rutland who fought a similar battle and won two years ago.

It was highlighted that Braunston has recently become a restraint village, making it much harder for planning applications to be approved. To get planning permission, developers will have to prove a need for the homes they intend to build.

Villagers are hoping this will help their case.

At the meeting villagers said Braunston did not have a school, doctors’ surgery or a shop.

A Mercury reporter attended the meeting but no-one was prepared to speak on the record.

The village is holding another meeting at 7pm on Wednesday in the village hall to help people fill in objection forms.

A county council spokesman said: “The proposals listed for consultation in the site allocation and policies document have all been put forward by landowners and developers. The council has not been involved in identifying sites or suggesting a prospective use for them.

“At this stage, the only role that the council has is to gather community views and responses to the consultation process.

“Residents can discuss the proposals at a public exhibition to be held at the Victoria Hall in Oakham tomorrow from 10am to 1pm.”

The site allocations document is available online at www.rutland.gov.uk/siteallocations and comments can be submitted through the website until November 30.

The owner of the land suggested travellers’ site in Braunston is said to be abroad at the moment.