Ewloe gipsy camp plans rejected

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a gipsy camp have been thrown out – but the taxpayer has been left to foot the bill.

A Government planning inspector has refused planning permission for a five-pitch site at Magazine Lane in Ewloe, but has ordered Flintshire Council to pay a portion of the gipsy applicant’s appeal fees – which could be about £10,000.

But, despite the appeal being dismissed, the applicant intends to submit another planning application within three weeks and is confident this time it will be approved.

Hundreds objected when plans for the site were first lodged in summer 2010 and campaigners formed Ewloe Green Action Group to fight the application.

Flintshire Council refused permission for the site in January on the grounds there was “no demonstrable need”.

But applicant Martyn Rooney, advised by agents Green Planning Solutions, lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate almost immediately.

And while the inspector appointed by the Welsh Government dismissed the appeal for the camp, he ruled that Flintshire Council had “behaved unreasonably” in refusing planning permission.

The applicant must now submit a bill to council bosses and the two sides will have to reach an agreement on how much is paid.

Flintshire Council refused the plans on the grounds there was not a need for further pitches as there were vacancies at the Riverside site at Queensferry and Ruthin Road in Wrexham.

The report states: “There is clearly a demonstrable need at county, regional and national levels.

“No reasonable person could conclude there is no demonstrable need and the council has failed to substantiate that assertion.”

The inspector dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the gipsies’ quality of life could be affected by air pollution and noise from the neighbouring A55.

The Ewloe Green Action Group is delighted the appeal was refused.

A spokesman said: “While we have sympathy with the travellers’ needs, we have always maintained this is an inappropriate site for their purpose and we are grateful that common sense has prevailed.

“We thank the community and our councillors for their support and for standing up against this inappropriate development.

“We hope Flintshire Council moves swiftly to make additional provision at Riverside Park to prevent other communities having to go through what we have just experienced.”

But Matthew Green, from Green Planning Solutions, is confident a new application will be granted planning permission once the necessary surveys in relation to noise and air pollution have been carried out.

He said: “A sound survey will be carried out shortly and then an application will be put back in and the council will have no option but to pass it.

“With an appeal decision like this you can lose, but still win at the same time.”

Andrew Farrow, head of planning at Flintshire Council, said: “The Inspector has concluded that the council must pay the costs of the appellant in relation to one of the two reasons for refusal.

“The appellant will now submit details of his costs for the council to agree.
“Should no agreement be reached an assessment will be made by the Court Costs Office.”

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