Shifnal traveller camp to get green light despite being 'inappropriate' and causing roads hazard

An "inappropriate" travellers camp is set to get the green light by planners due to there being no viable alternative.

The camp, south of Tong Forge, Shifnal, is inhabited by an Irish family.

The green belt location is deemed inappropriate, according to Tong Parish Council. But, because some of the family have health problems and the children are settled at a local primary school, planners have been recommended to give a retrospective "change of use" application for the land the temporary thumbs up for a year.

A similar application was refused last May due to its harm to the green belt, its lack of providing a sustainable development and its distance from the nearest settlement for homes as set out by the Local Plan.

The proposal is for the siting of four static and four touring caravans, as well as a pony paddock, two single day room buildings along with a twin day room building to provide washing, toilet and cooking facilities.

Tong Parish Council objected to the plans, saying: "There are no extenuating circumstances here that would permit development. Additional traffic on Stanton Road and Lizard Lane would promote further hazard.

"The needs of travelling families are well provided for within the county and future needs come under the provision of the Local Plan.

"The proposal is for four static and four touring vans, and it would appear that the children and the family member who is in need of medical assistance will be leaving the site to travel at various times in the year.

"What steps have the council officers have taken to verify the claims made by the applicant? For instance, the ages of the children and how long they expect to remain at the Primary School in Shifnal and their attendance record. What medical assistance is required by the family member(s) concerned and why such assistance can be better provided in an isolated rural location rather than in say Telford where assistance is readily available?"

However, a Shropshire Council report concludes: "Whilst the proposal is considered to be inappropriate development in the green belt and therefore contrary to both national and local planning policy, it is considered that there are extenuating circumstances relating to the personal circumstances of the applicant and the extended family (including the interests of the children and health issues), the lack of alternative provision in the south east of the county, the local plan review, which would weigh in favour of granting a temporary permission for a year.

"This application is retrospective and is a resubmission following an earlier refusal. It includes a hard standing area and day room buildings which have already been installed on site without the benefit of planning permission. Should planning permission be refused this is likely to be the subject of follow-on enforcement action to remove unauthorised development and return the site to its former condition. However, any enforcement notice would have to provide the applicants with a reasonable compliance period, and they would also have the right of appeal.

"Therefore, it is considered expedient on this occasion to grant a personal permission to the applicant on a temporary basis to allow them to explore alternative sites, as well as to allow the local plan review to progress so that we have a clearer understanding of emerging policy."

The application will go before Shropshire Council's southern planning committee on April 14.

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