Gypsy camp growth gets parish backing

PUBLISHED: 06:53 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 24 May 2010

A PARISH council has backed the expansion of a prominent gypsy site despite fears it could attract a flood of caravans to the area. Some villagers fear if Moorland Park Developments is allowed another 12 caravan pitches at its site between Congresbury and

A PARISH council has backed the expansion of a prominent gypsy site despite fears it could attract a flood of caravans to the area.Some villagers fear if Moorland Park Developments is allowed another 12 caravan pitches at its site between Congresbury and Hewish, it would open the floodgates to more expansions and more caravans in the future.But Congresbury parish councillors say the expansion would relieve pressure on illegal camps in North Somerset operating without planning permission.At a special public meeting organised by the council's planning committee, parish councillors decided to back the proposals on the condition a flood survey is carried out and strict waste disposal measures are put in place.The final decision on the planning application lies with North Somerset Council.Parish councillors have also told North Somerset if the application is approved then enforcement action on the illegal site next to the park should be taken as swiftly as possible.Speaking at the meeting in the Old School Rooms this week, Councillor Ken Bates said: "I am concerned what Moorland Park is given permission for and what actually happens could be two different things."We are almost agreeing to a new village and we could end up with a town bigger than Congresbury if we are not careful."Councillor Margaret Leimdorfer said: "The developer is offering to provide homes for gypsies and if Government legislation was passed which meant councils had to find sites for gypsies the responsibility could fall on us and taxpayers. Here we have a commercial businessman who is already providing a responsible park offering to do it for us.

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