Council blamed over gypsy site near Kenilworth

By Kevin Unitt Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 07/02 08:12

GYPSIES who have spent almost three years living on an unauthorised camp near Kenilworth have blamed council chiefs for a 'complete failure' to find any suitable alternative sites in the area.

A group of seven Romany Gypsies families moved onto the land they own – off Kites Nest Lane in Beausale – just before a Bank Holiday weekend in April 2010.

Court injunctions followed and Warwick District Council threw out their bid for planning permission to construct permanent pitches for mobile homes and caravans. In June 2010 they were given a year to clear up and leave the site but appeals followed, slowing up the process, and the group remain on the site to this day.

A new bid for planning consent was rejected by the district council's planning committee on Tuesday night (February 5), despite the families arguing there was nowhere else for them to go.

They said the council had failed to identify any alternative sites for travellers, despite a Secretary of State edict to local authorities – stating they must identify such sites – from as far back as September 2011.

The council has admitted its shortcomings. with an officer reporting there was an "unmet need for permanent gypsy and traveller pitches" in the district.

But the council still believe the Beausale site is not suitable for development.

The parish council of Beausale, Haseley, Honiley and Wroxhall also spoke out against the presence of the camp, arguing all efforts to remove the travellers had been met with resistance.

But the families living on the 300-metre long strip of green belt land have insisted throughout they are responsible landowners.

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