Gypsy site refused over flooding fears

The site just outside Launton refused permission for a gypsy camp.'120531M-F604
The site just outside Launton refused permission for a gypsy camp.'120531M-F604

PLANS for a traveller site on the outskirts of Launton were turned down on Friday.

Cherwell District Council planning officers judged the site to be at risk of flooding, and said there was not enough information to ensure it would be safe, even in the short term.

The Environment Agency had also expressed concern over flood risk.

A total of 30 letters of objection were sent in by local people over the application, which sought permission for two residential plots on a 1.2-acre site next to Blackthorn Road, on the eastern side of the village.

Fears over traffic hazards and development outside the village boundary were among the public concerns.

Plots would each have had room for one mobile home, one touring caravan and a day room.

Councillor David Hughes, representing the Launton ward, said he shared the parish council’s concerns over caravans turning in a narrow country lane.

“The other feedback I’ve had is over the ecology. We should have a proper ecological survey, because there’s wild flowers and animals, and it would be a shame to lose that habitat,” he added.

Councillor George Reynolds, of Wroxton ward, expressed concern regarding apparent uncertainty over the number of traveller sites the district was required to accommodate by law.

“In 15 months we’ve given 30 extra spaces.

“How long can we go on allowing travellers’ camps outside villages?

“It irritates everybody.

“If I wanted to put a house there, there would be no chance whatsoever.

“Anything outside the village must not be allowed,” he said.

He added: “Had this site not flooded it would have gone through as an approval.”

Cllr Reynolds said the council needed accurate knowledge of the number of sites it must provide

Officer Rebecca Horley said more data may be available in weeks to come.