Public inquiry is on horizon amid row over Denmead caravans

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Thieves smash into vehicles parked at leisure centres

  • Concerns that caravans will ruin rural charm
  • Applicant argues the caravans have been lived in for over a decade
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PEOPLE are facing a fresh fight in their battle to protect the countryside around their village.

A public inquiry is due to take place over whether three caravans can be placed permanently at Inhams Field, off Inhams Lane, Denmead.

Winchester City Council refused a retrospective planning application from Matilda Holdings Ltd to allow the caravans to be permanently parked there because of their impact on the character of the countryside.

An enforcement notice was then issued by the council on August 3 because the caravans had not moved.

Matilda Holdings Ltd has appealed to the government inspector in a bid to allow the field to be used for residential caravans.

It comes after residents fought off a separate application to allow eight mobile homes, eight touring caravans and eight day rooms on land behind the Chairmakers Arms off Forest Road, World’s End.

The applicants, eight Irish traveller families, appealed to the government.

Following a public inquiry, planning inspector Lesley Coffey dismissed the appeal.

She agreed with the council that the development would be harmful to the character of the countryside.

Denmead councillor Patricia Stallard has written to the planning inspectorate, calling for the Inhams Lane appeal to also be dismissed.

The applicant says the site has been occupied continuously by caravans for many years, with one resident living in her caravan since 2001.

Her letter states: ‘There is no dispute that this field was used as a five-pitch camping and caravanning site but this was never a permanent site.

‘Furthermore, the licence of the Caravan Club as an approved site was withdrawn many years ago because there were no proper sanitation arrangements.

‘The field was unoccupied for many long periods and was never in permanent occupation.’

But a report submitted to Winchester City Council, drawn up on behalf of Matilda Holdings Ltd, says: ‘It is evident that, for the residents of Pitches 2, 4 and 5, Inhams Field is their long-term home and it suits the lifestyle of their choice.’

The report adds that the caravans cause ‘no harm to the character of the locality’.

The public inquiry is due to take place on Tuesday, April 19 when both sides will put forward their cases at a hearing.

Picture: Inhams Lane at its junction with Forest Road