Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Traveller family face eviction

PLANS for a mini-travellers’ site on land near Wargrave have been refused by Wokingham Borough Council and enforcement action started.

James Smith applied for retrospective permission for the plot in Wargrave Road, near the A4, where he already keeps a stationary caravan.

The land was historically used as a paddock but Mr Smith wanted his Romany gypsy family to be able to use it when not travelling in their second touring caravan, which would also be parked on the site.

He said he wanted a “stable” place to live where the family could access healthcare and education for their children.

But the plans drew criticism from residents who said the land is intended to be used as a paddock and having a large caravan there could obscure views of traffic using the nearby roundabout on Bath Road.

The road is also used by pedestrians, including students at the Piggott School.

The council said the plans would harm the green belt and would cause “unacceptable impacts” on the character of the area.

It added that the site was outside the development limit and that the council had already had other land identified for use by travellers.

At a meeting of Wargrave Parish Council on Tuesday borough councillor John Halsall said enforcement action was being taken to remove the caravan.

Mr Smith says he and his family are currently homeless but are members of the Romany gypsy community and have gypsy status for planning purposes.

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