Man of 97 fearful of his peace and quiet being shattered among residents protesting over plans for travellers site at Walsoken

Planning application refused.

Planning application refused. - Credit: Archant

A 97-year-old man is among those fighting to stop a travellers’ site being opened at Wheatley Bank, Walsoken.

Planning application refused.

Planning application refused. - Credit: Archant

Owen Green said he had lived nearby for 46 years but if the plans win approval “it will no longer be a quiet neighbourhood.”

Mr Green is among protestors who claim the fear of being burgled, attacked and the possibility of disrupting a “pre-existing happy community” should force West Norfolk Council to reject the proposals.

Change of use of paddock land to the west of Wheatley Bank to allow for 12 travellers’ pitches, was put to West Norfolk planners by Christine Harrison.

Many residents have fired off protest letters and begun a campaign to halt it.

Planning application refused.

Planning application refused. - Credit: Archant

West Walton Parish Council wants it turned down on the grounds that “there is sufficient existing provision in the area for traveller families and there is strong local opposition”.

The parish council also claims the roads which would be used to access the site are “highly unsuitable for the traffic which would be using them, including 4x4 vehicles, caravans and commercial vehicles”.

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The application includes 12 mobile homes, 12 touring caravans and the construction of 12 day rooms.

Mrs Z Appleby, one of the objectors, said: “The area in particular that we live in is rural, with narrow roads and is extremely bendy in areas.

Planning application refused.

Planning application refused. - Credit: Archant

“I feel that if the site is to go ahead then it would put a huge strain on our village and the community.”

She said the development would disrupt a pre-existing, happy community.

“I’m not familiar with travellers’ way of living so I can’t understand why you need 12 day rooms when the caravans provide living, cooking and washing facilities.

“This is planning to build a community in a pre existing and happy community. The pressure that this will put on our village is immense and for those who have approved this I ask you to think long and hard about this.”

Planning application refused.

Planning application refused. - Credit: Archant

Mr L Ahern said: “I would like to vehemently object to the proposal. There is no proven need as there are already two gypsy sites (official or otherwise) within the Wisbech area located along the A47 ring road with another six official permanent gypsy traveller sites in the near vicinity.”

Christine Allen said she fears for her safety having been attacked by a traveller before.

“I am so alarmed that this narrow road with no street lights, no pavements and no mains water or sewerage is totally unable to sustain that amount of people.”

She said: “House prices down this road would plummet and the crime rate would increase.”

Kier Jackson said: “I have owned the land directly next to the proposed traveller’s site on Wheatley Bank for the last five years.

“In that time I have been burgled nine times, having many thousands of pounds worth of equestrian tack and rugs stolen.

“This has been proven by the police that seven of the nine times the burglaries were committed by members of the travelling community. This is why I do not wish for there to be a traveller’s site right on my doorstep.”

Peter Humphrey, another resident, said he believed the site was contaminated and was totally the wrong area and goes against the emerging local plan.

He also claimed to have seen newts locally and owls nesting close by which would be disturbed; he also questioned the need for so many travellers in one location.