Villagers vent anger over bid by travellers

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ANGRY neighbours have demanded to know why plans are being considered for a new travellers’ site.

Residents agreed at a tense public meeting outside The Chairmakers, in Worlds End, Hambledon, that turning a nearby pony paddock into eight plots for caravans and mobile homes would be against countryside planning rules.

Several hundred people packed The Chairmakers Arms at Worlds End near Denmead on Saturday to hear local councillors and George Hollingbery MP talk about the nearby site that is being considered as a site suitable for travellers''Picture: Malcolm Wells (131666-8792)

Several hundred people packed The Chairmakers Arms at Worlds End near Denmead on Saturday to hear local councillors and George Hollingbery MP talk about the nearby site that is being considered as a site suitable for travellers''Picture: Malcolm Wells (131666-8792)

They said travellers wouldn’t make it a good re-use of the land – which is off Forest Road – and wouldn’t help to promote agriculture.

But politicians said the proposals would have to be given serious thought because travellers need to be treated the same as everyone else.

Research obtained by an organisation on behalf of 11 local councils has also revealed that 60 new pitches for travellers needs to be made available by 2022.

Denmead district councillor Kirk Phillips said: ‘They (travellers) have a human right to be able to apply and ask.’

Addressing the audience, Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said: ‘There is confusion here about why we are here if it’s not allowed.

‘The reason there is a public meeting is because gypsies and travellers have a right to have a home and a family life.’

He said that people would need to work on their objections in terms of planning laws – and urged everyone to hire a planning consultant to help them.

‘It needs all of you to muscle all of your efforts into coming up with concerns in relation to planning terms.

‘It’s no good saying “I don’t like this” and that there will be an impact on the doctor’s surgery. I’d urge you all to take on a planning consultant.’

The discussion, which was held on Saturday, was going to be held inside the pub – but because so many turned up it was moved to a white marquee outside.

Peter Ambrose, chairman of Denmead Village Association, said he was concerned about the impact the site would have on traffic in Forest Road, where the speed limit is 60mph.

Mr Ambrose said: ‘60mph is the actual speed limit, but there is a number of curves and the vision is not good.

‘It would give us immense safety problems.’

Another resident, who did not want to be named for fear of who the travellers potentially moving in are, said: ‘As someone pointed out in the meeting, there are thousands of brownfield sites so why have something like this in the countryside? It’s beautiful here.’

Residents have until Tuesday, June 25, to voice their objections, but this could be extended by 21 days because some say they haven’t spotted any orange public notices outlining the plans being put up.

Denmead Parish Council will hold a planning meeting on Wednesday for councillors to discuss the proposals. The meeting starts at 7.30pm at Denmead Community Centre and the public may attend the meeting.

Comments will then be sent to Winchester City Council, which will have the final say in what happens.

It can either refuse the application or arrange for it to go before the planning committee.

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