Site for two gypsy caravans rejected as council receives 300 letters of objection

First published in News

IT would destroy the tranquil appearance of Timsbury.

That was to the view of Test Valley councillors who unanimously threw out controversial plans to use land off the main Stockbridge to Romsey road through the village to site two gypsy caravans.

Around 80 objectors from Timsbury packed into Romsey’s Crosfield Hall to watch the decision-makers in action and they were delighted with the outcome. They listened as Michelmersh and Timsbury Parish Council chairman Bob Davis, urged the southern area planning committee to reject the scheme submitted by Mary Barney of Bridle View, which included a gypsy pitch for one static and a touring caravan. The application also included parking and a brick-built utility/day room.

Mr Davis warned: “The site is next to the main Stockbridge road and to Manor Lane, a residential road. The caravans on the site could be up to 65 feet long and 22 feet wide and obviously large structures of a type and design completely out of character with the surroundings. The parish council considers that this is a completely inappropriate place for a gypsy site.

Mr Davis said that the parish council did not believe a need for the gypsy pitch had been demonstrated by the applicant, who was represented by her agents, Green Planning Solutions.

Test Valley planners received over 300 letters from objectors, some from as far afield as London and Swansea.

Objectors claimed the caravans would “blight” Timsbury and the site was on green belt land and should be preserved for future generations to stop Timsbury losing its identity.

Some objectors pointed out that Timsbury and neighbouring Michelmersh were an integral part of the tourist route with their Saxon churches and the site would be clearly visible from the A3057.

Borough councillor for Timsbury, Tony Ward said he had no objection to gypsy pitches in the Test Valley, but they had to be in the right place.

“My concern with this application was it was adjacent to the A3057 where it could be easily seen from the road, a bridleway and a lay-by. A lot of people stop in the lay-by, including tourists. It is also the gateway into Timsbury from the Romsey direction,” said Mr Ward.

Recommending councillors approve the application, borough planning officer, Katherine Fitzherbert-Green, explained that there was a need for gypsy pitches in the Test Valley.

The officer said an assessment carried out by the council in 2006 revealed a need for seven additional pitches and since that study, only four have been given planning permission.

“Permitting the site would help meet the identified need,” said the officer.

Councillors voted to reject the plans on the grounds that the scheme would have an impact on the landscape, the community and the environment.

Green Planning Solutions were approached by the Advertiser for comment after the decision was made, but hadn’t responded at the time of going to press.

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