Council to probe gypsies’ claims

A COUPLE S claim to be gypsies has been questioned by planners who have refused them permission to move two mobile homes on to an isolated site in a Fenland village. The issues to be considered with the application are whether the applicants are gypsies

A COUPLE'S claim to be gypsies has been questioned by planners who have refused them permission to move two mobile homes on to an isolated site in a Fenland village.

"The issues to be considered with the application are whether the applicants are gypsies and if so whether these proposals are consistent with the planning policies for gypsy sites," says a planning officer's report to West Norfolk Borough Council.

Denis and Ivy Redworth had asked the council for permission to move from their bricks and mortar house of the past six years to return to their gypsy roots. They had hoped to site two mobile homes to the rear of Redroofs, New Road, Upwell, for themselves and the rest of their family.

But the council says the application raised similar issues to a previous case in which a Walsoken family claimed to be gypsies and were hoping for permission to site caravans in the open countryside. That application was refused - and the refusal upheld on appeal.


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In the case of Mr and Mrs Redworth the council's planning officer concluded: "They may be able to claim they are gypsies, even though at present they do not have a gypsy lifestyle and live in conventional dwellings, which is not a type of typical gypsy accommodation.

"The applicants have chosen to give up their traditional way of gypsy life for the last six years."

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He concluded that although they can claim gypsy status there was "insufficient evidence available to dispute these facts".

Their move to Upwell was opposed by the parish council on both highways grounds, and the "adverse impact" it would have upon open countryside.

Eleven letters of objection were also sent to the borough council claiming the mobile homes would devalue their properties, the site was outside the village boundary, and there were other acceptable gypsy sites locally.

West Norfolk Council, in its refusal notice, said the proposal was contrary to development in rural areas and access to the site would be hazardous.

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