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Plans for controversial travellers' site near Grantham to go before committee

Plans for a controversial travellers’ site will go before committee next week.

The site, off Valley Lane, near the A1 turn-off for Long Bennington, has proven controversial since a couple of caravans were parked there and fencing and hard standing put in without permission.

The application is for the change of use of the land to a travellers’ site for the provision of one mobile home and one touring caravan for a forestry worker who wants to live on the site with his wife and four children.

The travellers site in Long Bennington off Valley Lane. (44186808)
The travellers site in Long Bennington off Valley Lane. (44186808)

The applicant works as a landscape gardener and tree surgeon across the Midlands. The site has been chosen because it is close to employment opportunities and allows the children to continue their education at a school in Newark.

In a report to the planning committee of South Kesteven District Council, it says: “Since the application has been submitted, a 2m high close-boarded fence has been erected around the site. The site has also been occupied and during a recent site visit it is noted there were two caravans as well as a portaloo, a works transit van and trailer.

“The application has been submitted to provide accommodation for a traveller. It is considered from the personal circumstances that although the applicant no longer wishes to travel, that the family falls within the definition of being gypsies. This is not contested by the traveller liaison officer at [the county council] who is aware of the family and their background.”

Officers have recommended the application for approval, but villagers and the parish council have objected.

Villagers say they are angry because the council has not taken action against the siting of caravans without permission. Long Bennington Parish Council has made a number of objections, saying that approval would set a precedent for further development of the site and there are highways safety concerns.

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