Council stalls over bigger gypsy site

The Westrum Lane site in 2010 after West Lindsey District Council granted planning permission. EMN-140826-123719001
The Westrum Lane site in 2010 after West Lindsey District Council granted planning permission. EMN-140826-123719001

Plans to extend the Westrum Park gypsy site in Brigg have been deferred after a sudden u-turn by neighbouring North Lincolnshire District Council.

Officers had recommended approval, but West Lindsey District Council deferred a decision last week after the late intervention from its neighbour.

Applicant Sam Smith wants to site six permanent gypsy and traveller pitches and four transit pitches for a total of 24 additional caravans.

The site is close to the border with North Lincolnshire district, which had not opposed the proposal until it sent a last minute objection citing concerns over traffic, visual amenity and a detrimental impact on the local area.

Brigg and Wolds councillors have also objected claiming the proposal was over-intensive for the site, there is no need for the extra pitches and the extra traffic generated would be unsafe for a poor road.

Michael Doherty, speaking for Sam Smith, told West Lindsey’s planning committee the Westrum Lane site was “well managed and well-designed.” There was opposition but they add “nothing of substance” and opponents would still exist “regardless of the facts.”

There were also no visibility issues as the vans would be sited in a dip and hidden by hedgerows.

The pitches would accommodate Sam Smith’s family, in-laws and trusted friends.

There would be no extra traffic movements as these people visited the site regularly already. The plan would also help the district council meet its targets in providing gypsy sites.

“This site is a centre of traveller excellence the council can be proud off,” he told the committee.

However, Coun Lewis Strange replied that although site was well-run, an extra 24 vans would bring too much extra traffic to Westrum Lane. The last-minute objection from North Lincolnshire District Council had to be taken seriously, otherwise it would “ruin relationships” with the council West Lindsey must work with in choosing traveller accommodation in the region.

But Coun Malcom Leaning replied the extra pitches would not be needed if North Lincolnshire had provided sites in its part of Brigg.

Before members voted 8-2 to defer a decision for more information, including contacting Network Rail about possible impacts concerning a nearby railway crossing, council leader Jeff Summers said he too was disappointed to receive the North Lincolnshire objection at such a late stage.

“It would be right to defer so there is more certainty about the facts, to establish that they are correct,” he said.