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STAFFORDSHIRE: Caravan site plans come forward a decade after previous application

STAFFORDSHIRE: Caravan site plans come forward a decade after previous application

A Google Street View Image Of The Junction Of The A518 Newport Road And Radmore Lane Near Gnosall.

Plans have been put forward for a Romany Gypsy caravan site on farmland next to a busy road – almost a decade after a previous proposal for the same site was rejected by Stafford Borough Council.

Mary Lee’s bid for a gypsy pitch on land at Radmore Lane, Gnosall, was turned down by the council in 2012 because it was not demonstrated that there was an overriding need to develop the site in open countryside. There were also concerns that the plans would result in the loss of greenfield land and harm the appearance of the rural area.

More than 260 residents objected to the application, which was put forward in 2011. They said there was no need for the site in the area and if approved it would set a precedent and “harm the special character of Gnosall.”

A new application has now been submitted to Stafford Borough Council, seeking permission for a private Romany Gypsy site for one family, with a day room and no more than two mobile homes and four touring caravans.

Councillor Mike Smith, who represents the Gnosall and Woodseaves ward, has called in the application for discussion by the planning committee.

He said: “The application does not demonstrate local need to develop the site in open countryside and that it could not be reasonably be provided on a more appropriate site such as previously developed land. There are highways issues in respect of visibility.”

As of Monday (November 22) five people had objected to the plans. Concerns include road safety along the neighbouring A518 Newport Road.

One Radmore Lane resident said: “The original application for this development was refused in 2012 when the Stafford Borough Plan was approved and which runs from 2011-2031, therefore the same principles of refusal should still apply now. The new proposal for this site is actually for more caravans and motor homes than the original proposal so any reasons given for the first refusal should be even more relevant now than they were in 2012.

“Since the first application in 2012, there have been several new housing developments in Gnosall, meaning that traffic on the A518 has notably increased. It is well documented that there have been numerous serious traffic accidents on the road of late, including fatalities.

“A nearby resident on the A518 has even had to have concrete barriers erected at their own expense – approximately £10,000 – to protect their property and livestock. The access to Radmore Lane is towards the brow of the hill on this road and increased traffic turning onto and off this road will increase the possibility of further accidents.

There is little room for large vehicles to turn onto the lane and certainly no room for vehicles of this size to pass other oncoming vehicles. The proposed site is clearly visible from the A518 and will have a negative visual impact on anyone approaching the village of Gnosall.

“It is totally out of character with the surrounding rural area and will be a loss of green field land. There does not seem to be any need or reason to develop a new site in open countryside and certainly not as an isolated site where there is nothing similar around.”

A Newport Road resident said: “This is an inappropriate development which will cause an undesirable intrusion into the green fields and countryside which separates Gnosall from Newport. There is no precedence for this totally unnecessary and undesirable development application and it will certainly be a permanent blot on the landscape for generations of the local community and everyone driving into rural Staffordshire.

“Since the first planning application was made in 2011, three substantial housing developments have been completed in the village of Gnosall. We live on the A518 within 240 metres of the proposed development and we have observed a significant increase in traffic on this stretch of the A518. This is no doubt due in part to the increase in our local population using their vehicles.

“At present the site is rural agricultural land where sheep may safely graze without electricity, mains water or human effluent disposal facilities. The installation of a septic tank would require drainage extending onto the adjoining agricultural land. Additionally there will be a significant increase in the collection of recycling waste from the residents and itinerant visitors.”

Words: Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter

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