Residents want new gipsy site

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Villagers have submitted plans for a new travellers site at Ashwell because they say it is a better location than one being used in Langham.

A group of seven villagers in Langham, led by Richard Clifton, 42, of Well Street, submitted the application on Monday for a travellers site on a sports field at the Ashwell Prison site. They hope this will mean the Lee and Price family, who are Romany gipsies, currently living at The Paddocks in Langham, could move there.

Even if the villagers secure permission, that would not mean the family had to move .

Mr Clifton, a charity director, said: “A travellers site is not appropriate on that site and it was supposed to be a temporary solution. We can understand they want to be part of the community and as a parish we want to support that but we also 
want to protect a greenfield site.”

The council bought the prison from the Ministry of Justice to develop the site From page one

into a business park.

The residents’ group believes it is more suitable because it is council owned and a brownfield site.

He said there had been no problems with the Lea and Price family. He said: “It’s not a case of we don’t want them in our back yard at all. We have nothing against them.”

The families were given temporary permission for the site in Oakham Road for five years in 2008. In 2011, the family applied for permanent permission but instead the temporary permission was extended until December next year.

The family have again applied for permanent permission and are waiting to hear the outcome.

The family say they have made a home at the site and are determined to stay put.

Lucy Price said: “If someone asked you to move house, would you be so eager to do it? We have put all our savings into this site and we like it here. If we don’t get permanent permission we will fight it.”

There is another travellers site with temporary permission near Langham, but residents say it is on brownfield land.

Rutland County Council’s development control and committee is due to consider plans to redevelop Ashwell Prison on Tuesday.

The council would not comment on whether it would consider using the prison site for a travellers site so as not to prejudice the planning process.