Gypsies bid to make permanent home in Charlton Kings
GYPSIES have made a bid to take up permanent residence in a field on the outskirts of Cheltenham.
Lita Cox and her family, who are of Gypsy descent, want to call the Castle Dream Stud, in Charlton Kings, their home having occupied the site temporarily over the past three years.
During that time they have installed hard-standing, fencing, stables and a caravan in the field, off Mill Lane, and the plans seek to allow these features to remain on a permanent basis.
The application has caused a stir among residents, several of whom have lodged objections.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Their chief worry is that approving the proposals could pave the way for more members of the gypsy and traveller community to arrive on the land – which is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“Surely this is an attempt to build now and possibly more in the future on an unspoilt part of a beautiful land and fields area?” said one resident.
Another villager argued that permanent development should not be condoned on the AONB and that the Cox family should not be treated any differently to other landowners.
He said: “It is fundamentally undemocratic that a section of society can ride roughshod over the planning regulations by playing up ‘a traditional way of life’.
“I have every sympathy for preserving a traditional Romany lifestyle, where this is genuine and sustainable, but no sympathy whatsoever for it being used as a pretext to obtain quite exceptional advantages.”
However, direct neighbours of the Cox family said they had no problem with their plans to take up residence permanently – saying they had been a positive influence since their arrival three years ago.
Farmer Steve Shea, who owns the field next door to the site, “They have given us absolutely no trouble whatsoever. I know there’s been a lot of aggro in the village from people who don’t want them here, but I don’t have a problem with it.”
Krishnan Pillai, who also lives nearby added: “I have always found them to be good neighbours and in actual fact they have significantly improved the site since they moved in.”
Lita Cox and her family were not available to comment when the Echo tried to contact them.
But their planning agent Adam Gatier said fears among a small group of residents were unfounded, adding that a condition could be added to the planning approval to prevent the influx of more members of the gypsy community. He also said granting the application would contribute to Cheltenham’s need to identify more traveller sites.
He said: “The owner and applicant has positively contributed to the local area and integrated well within the community.”
“The planning application has been made in line with current planning policy and would assist the local authority in their requirement to allocate sites within Cheltenham for traveller needs, which they are currently not achieving.”
Borough council planners will make a decision on the application by October 17. To comment on the plans go to www.cheltenham.gov.uk (ref: 13/01459/COU)