Opposition mounts to fresh plan for Denmead travellers’ site

CONTENTIOUS The packed public meeting at the Chairmakers Arms in June.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (131666-8811)
CONTENTIOUS The packed public meeting at the Chairmakers Arms in June. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131666-8811)

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FRESH plans for a travellers’ site on the outskirts of Denmead have been met with huge opposition.

Dozens of letters have been sent by residents to Winchester City Council in a bid to stop the plan for land behind the Chairmakers pub, off Forest Road, Worlds End.

It would mean turning a pony paddock into eight traveller pitches, including enough room for a mobile home, a touring caravan and a day room on each pitch.

The initial plan, submitted in May, was withdrawn, but an almost identical proposal has now been submitted.

In his submission to the council, Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said: ‘This site stands apart from the village of Denmead itself and is of sufficient scale to have an impact on the surrounding settlement.’

He said the application ‘demonstrably fails’ to ‘respect the interests of the settled community’.

One resident wrote: ‘If the site is fully occupied then we estimate that it could contain 50 gypsy/travellers and that would cause major upset to the living conditions of the neighbouring population.

‘It is not just the extra people but the hardware, animals and pollution that they bring with them that cause upset to the natural environment and neighbouring properties.’

Another resident said: ‘The road is too busy for more traffic on and off the site.

‘I also do not see how, from the plans provided that there is room for eight mobile homes and eight touring vans as well as cesspits, cars, lorries, vans and kids.’

Denmead Parish Council has submitted a strong objection to the plans, which the city council is due to make a decision on by October 18.

A staff member at The Chairmakers told The News there were fears it could ruin their business because people might be put off coming to the pub.

A report by WS Planning and Architecture, representing eight traveller families, said: ‘The families will be homeless with nowhere to live if this permission is not granted. The families need to be settled so they can access health and education services, bearing in mind that many have young children.’

Their report said there was ‘an urgent need’ for traveller sites.