West Lindsey backs bigger gypsy camp

West Lindsey HQ EMN-140310-082643001
West Lindsey HQ EMN-140310-082643001

An extension to the Westrum Park gypsy site in Brigg has been approved by West Lindsey District Council.

Applicant Sam Smith sought to change the use of land to site six permanent gypsy and traveller pitches and four transit pitches to allow 24 extra caravans. He also wanted to change the use of a dayroom building to a house.

West Lindsey’s planning committee agreed to an officers’ recommendation to approve this, subject to a footpath being built on the east side of Westrum Lane to improve road and pedestrian safety.

The proposal concerns land off an unadopted section of Westrum Lane, which falls within the Bigby Parish of West Lindsey, just south of the boundary with Brigg and North Lincolnshire.

It has attracted opposition from nearby residents who fear the impact a larger site would have on the area.

In a council report, Gainsborough MP, Sir Edward Leigh was quoted as saying the extension is “unacceptable” and it will affect his constituency, where the site is based.

“I encourage the District Council to fulfil such needs rather than create mega sites which will prove more objectionable.”

Brigg MP Andrew Percy said the extension would cause loss of privacy for nearby residents.

Kelsey district Councillor Lewis Strange also warned that the extension would create traffic from more large vehicles driving down the narrow lane and development in open countryside was “completely against our planning policies.”

At last week’s committee meeting, Coun Strange added that doubling the size of the existing site would create issues with flooding and drainage. Neighbouring North Lincolnshire should also take more gypsy spaces.

However, Brigg town councillor Donald Campbell said Brigg had very little land suitable for such sites and children who have grown up on the site now seek spaces to raise their own families there.

But fellow Brigg town councillor Rob Waltham said local residents opposed the extension, noting the limited access to the site. An extra 24 caravans would increase the traffic flow.

However, district councillor Malcolm Leaning said the existing site was well-run and could cope with extra capacity.

Coun Roger Patterson accepted there were issues with roads and sewerage but other than that, he could not see a reason to refuse.

Coun Alan Caine proposed a footpath be built as a condition of approval to improve road safety, which members agreed to.