WISBECH: High Court hearings to stop illegal travellers' site as council tightens the screw

EXCLUSIVE By JOHN ELWORTHY FENLAND Council disclosed today they are set for a lengthy and costly legal battle to prevent an illegal travellers site springing up in Wisbech. Two High Court hearings have already taken place to stop Reuben Stewart developi

EXCLUSIVE

By JOHN ELWORTHY

FENLAND Council disclosed today they are set for a lengthy and costly legal battle to prevent an illegal travellers' site springing up in Wisbech.

Two High Court hearings have already taken place to stop Reuben Stewart developing Little Acre off the A47 bypass into a site for six pitches after the council refused his planning application.


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The council's enforcement team say the battle to stop him goes on after a visit revealed Mr Stewart had no intention of halting work.

Steve Robshaw, planning enforcement officer, said as recently as October officers visiting the site had questioned why a portakabin had been cemented to the ground and a new hard standing had been laid.

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"When asked why development was continuing, following the dismissal of his appeal against planning refusal, Mr Stewart suggested that the portakabin, log style shed and the hard standing were all for his horses," said Mr Robshaw.

"When asked what use a hard standing would be in connection with horses, Mr Stewart advised that he wants somewhere to teach them to tap dance."

Council officials have been monitoring the site since April when hardcore roadways and a hard standing first appeared.

Mr Robshaw says he believes Mr Stewart "has no intention of voluntarily ceasing development of the site despite having been refused planning permission and lost his appeal. Officers feel that unless immediate and decisive action is taken there will be irretrievable harm caused to the amenity of the area."

On October 31 the council won a temporary order at the High Court, and seven days later the same court granted an extension to the original order banning touring caravans or any description using the land. It also forbids hard standing, fencing or installation of septic tanks, and bans any form of building on the land.

A barrister advising the council has suggested a tougher form of words for the current injunction and these are expected to be appealed against.

Mr Robshaw will report progress to next week's meeting of Fenland Council's planning committee.

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