Gypsy site can stay for another three years

A GYPSY site can remain on land at Battle for another three years as Rother Council continues its search for permanent traveller sites in the district.

Linda Smith has lived at Beeches Brook on Telham Lane since September 2007, but risked being ejected from the site by Rother District Council following a series of planning breaches.

Rother was due to take enforcement action against Linda in April 2010, but following an appeal the Government Planning Inspectorate granted permission for her to keep her mobile home on the site for another two-and-a-half years.

The extension was granted to allow time for Rother to find land for a new travellers site.

However the authority has yet to decide on a location.

Linda had applied for permanent planning permission, with Rother’s officers recommending the council approve the plans, subject to a number of conditions.

But yesterday (Thursday) Rother’s planning committee instead chose to renew the temporary planning permission for another three years.

An initial list of potential locations for traveller sites was revealed by Rother last month and included the pitch at Beeches Brook.

The list has since been withdrawn to allow councillors to conduct site visits to each potential site in Battle, Robertsbridge, Westfield, Ewhurst, Cripps Corner, Bexhill, Rye, Guestling Green and Flimwell.

Battle Town Council has always voiced strong opposition to the development at Beeches Brook.

The council argued that if a temporary permission is considered, this should be linked to the timetable for formally identifying permanent pitches.

But three petitions, with a combined total of almost 60 signatures, were submitted to Rother in support of the application.

Signatures were collected by parents of Battle and Langton School, regulars at The White Hart in Catsfield and Telham Cottage, the closest neighbouring dwelling to the site.

Two letters were written in support of the application, noting the site is kept clean and tidy and was an improvement on how it looked before Linda arrived.

Four letters of objection were received expressing concerns about the impact on the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the risk of creating a precedent.