Flick Drummond: Winchester City Council and Traveller site. This was published in the Hampshire Chronicle:https://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/homes/property_news_config/1936689…
A LOCAL MP has slammed Winchester City Council for ‘a total lack of duty and care’ towards residents living near travellers who are allegedly breaking planning rules.
This is despite countless complaints from residents, ward councillors and parish councils about breaches, noise and unlawful expansion.
Flick, the Meon Valley MP wrote to the leader of the council Lucille Thompson.
“Residents living near these two sites are at their wits’ end over the total lack of regard, duty and care by Winchester City Council’s enforcement officers,” she said.
“The sheer amount of disruption and the systematic breaking of planning law should really be enough for the council to enforce the rules and give residents some hope the situation can be brought under control.
“But nothing seems to be done or, at the very least, lip service is paid to the concerns, the breaking of conditions and substantial development without permission.
“The rules are there for a reason. The council has a duty to enforce them and I cannot understand why this is not happening. The fact the leader of the city council hasn’t even replied to the residents’ MP speaks volumes and shows a complete lack of leadership and a total lack of regard for those who live in the southern parishes by this Liberal Democrat administration.
“I am angry on behalf of my constituents whose lives are being made intolerable by a minority who have no respect for the law and I am angry the council’s political masters seemingly want to do nothing to help.”
The World’s End site was given a temporary five-year planning permission in 2019 after appeal. But since then, it has allegedly expanded without further permission.
Residents say there are more day rooms than permitted and the site has floodlights that are not permitted. A hedge was removed and a brick wall built, again with no planning permission. A track adjacent to the site jointly shared by 10 paddock users has been taken over for parking.
Other nuisance includes noisy electrical generators and signs of puppy farming and noise from distressed dogs.
At The Paddock, four caravans are permitted with conditions but a further nine have allegedly turned up. There has been a retrospective application submitted for 13 pitches at the site. A second site has been acquired and access and a layby has been created without permission.
Durley resident Ursula Ward said: “Winchester City Council has failed in its statutory duty to enforce its own planning decisions. Were any other resident to build or install a dwelling contrary to clear planning decisions, they would be immediately instructed to demolish it.
“There has been no such action in respect to the 'travellers' for reasons which are unclear. An independent investigation ought to be commissioned that sets out each stage of the decision-making process and is made public."
When contacted by the Chronicle, a spokesperson for Winchester City Council said: "“The land at Worlds End, Denmead, has planning permission for use as a travellers’ site and is being occupied for this purpose. This has not expanded outside the property boundary of the approved consents that were awarded by the Planning Inspector on appeal in October 2019 and a further permission issued by the council in 2020.
“The council carefully assesses complaints and will take enforcement action where the breach in question is causing significant harm in planning terms, following our adopted Local Enforcement Policy and national planning guidance. Enforcement notices served in 2018 were overturned by appeal in 2019. We are aware of alleged on-going breaches regarding the terms of the planning permissions granted primarily relating to lighting, size of the day room, drainage connection and landscaping, which we have been investigating, including making a number of visits to the site.
“In addition, we have also looked into issues relating to allegations around the noise generated at the site and animal welfare. Our investigations have not resulted in formal action being taken.”