Public meeting to hear Burridge gypsy site challenge decision

A public meeting is to be held in Burridge tonight (October 18) to hear how Fareham Borough Council is going to deal with a decision by a government inspector to allow a gypsy pitch and utility building to be built in the village.

An inspector gave permission for land to the west of Burridge Road to be developed for the stationing of caravans for one gypsy pitch for travellers to reside, along with a utility building.

Burridge residents were unhappy with the proposed plans, which were refused by the council earlier this year.

Anita Barney appealed on a number of issues on the council’s refusal, including whether the land should be accepted for a gypsy site, the need for and provision of allocated gypsy sites in the borough and the need for a pitch for her and her family.

The inspector’s report stated the “council acted unreasonably in refusal of the application that there was no demonstrable requirement for additional gypsy pitches within Fareham” and awarded a partial award of costs to Mrs Barney for this.

Ward Councillor Sean Woodward, who is also the leader of the Fareham council, said the council does not often challenge an appeal inspector, but they were taking legal advice on whether to challenge the appeal.

He said he was “surprised” by the grant for costs to the appellant and added: “The council has repeatedly turned down applications for a pitch.

“We have to see it is within reasonable distance from the shops, schools and surgery. In Burridge it’s not near any amenities at all.

“We’re seeing if there are any grounds for legal challenge.”

Cllr Woodward added: “Residents in Burridge are absolutely furious. I will be holding a meeting with Burridge residents on 18 October at the Burridge Village Hall to explain the appeal decision. Hopefully by then I’ll have information on the legal advice to tell them.”

Agent Matthew Green, of Green Planning Solutions, said Mrs Barney was happy the appeal inspector granted permission for the site to be developed.

“The council has never had a case and now they’re paying the costs,” he said. “Councils always find ways of refusing gypsy sites.

“It’s a straightforward planning case and should’ve been granted straight out. The council needs to take a long hard look at itself and actually question its planning policy.”

Tonight’s meeting starts at 7pm.


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