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‘I am not a frog in boiling water’: plans for traveller site rejected by council

PUBLISHED: 11:08 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 17 October 2018

The site at Windy Acres in Mutford. Picture: Google

The site at Windy Acres in Mutford. Picture: Google

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Councillors unanimously rejected plans for an open gypsy and traveller site in Mutford and said they were being treated like ‘frogs in slowly boiling water’.

Members of Waveney District Council’s planning committee refused to relax restrictions over who is allowed to live on the Windy Acres site in Mutford, near Lowestoft, at a meeting on Tuesday,

The owner, Danny Rooney, had applied for permission for it to become open for any group of gypsies or travellers to use the site which has five pitches for caravans.

The application had been met with criticism from Mutford Parish Council prior to the meeting.

However, councillors said permission had been granted for four extra pitches earlier this year which had been granted after substantial evidence had been provided to the committee to justify the need for the additional pitches.

Many councillors said this was the main reason they supported that application at the time.

Malcolm Pitchers, Labour councillor for Kirkley, said: “Our worry was that it would become a general site. We did not want a general gypsy site.

“Why should all sites be so close to Lowestoft? There are none in Suffolk Coastal, perhaps there should be some there.”

Ian Graham, mayor of Lowestoft and Labour councillor for Pakefield, said the application did not help meet the need for more gypsy and traveller sites.

He said: “I cannot see how this application would help our housing need at all. We have got five there now, we are just changing what they are called.

Mr Graham added that the history of the site showed small incremental changes to permissions over time and said he was worried the site would expand if applications for more pitches continued to be approved.

Likening the committee to being a frog in slowly boiling water, he said: “I am not a frog in boiling water. I am not boiling to death, I am jumping out of the pan.”

Graham Elliott, Green councillor for Beccles North, said: “We have got a serious need for gypsy and traveller sites and for general gypsy and traveller sites.

“If this was a genuine general gypsy and traveller site I might be coming to a different conclusion. This is effectively five private sector housing under the control of one person.”

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