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Green land in Test Valley could become traveller pitch
SCORES of residents have vowed to fight plans to build a solitary gypsy pitch in their Hampshire village.
More than 50 homeowners in Test Valley have launched a campaign against the proposal, which would see one gypsy pitch and a utility room built on vacant green land.
Planning chiefs are currently considering the application from Mary Barney to transform half an acre of the land known as Bridal View, on Manor Lane in Timsbury, into a home for her family.
Green Planning Solutions LLP, the firm acting as Mrs Barney’s agent in the application process, say that the development is needed in order “to meet a recognised need for such facilities in the area to facilitate a gypsy lifestyle”.
But company bosses refused to rule out the possibility of the six-acre site hosting more gypsies in the future.
Villagers fear that the proposal could trigger the start of a much larger traveller’s camp being set up, similar to the Dale Farm site, in Essex.
Bailiffs moved in to Dale Farm in October last year, after it became home to more than 1,000 travellers.
One Stockbridge Road resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We know this application is for one pitch, but it’s probably not going to stop there.
“All of us have got pictures of the next Dale Farm site in our minds.
“This land is a few acres in size. If that ends up covered in static homes it would be an eyesore and would reduce the value of properties in the area.
“It would be a travesty if the council were to allow that to happen.”
Another angry Timsbury resident added: “This site is green belt land and as such cannot be built on unless there are exceptional circumstances.
“No other members of the community have been given the right to build properties on this green land.
“Why should permission now be granted for a gypsy site when previous attempts to develop the site have been refused?”
Bob Davis, chairman of Michelmersh and Timsbury Parish Council, said he would be writing to Test Valley Borough Council on behalf of the residents.
He added: “The parish council has a duty to represent local residents and their concerns over the proposal will be fully investigated and taken into account in this response.”
In a brief statement, Matthew Green, from Green Planning Solutions LLP, said: “This site complies with development plans and national policy and should be permitted.”
Residents have until Friday, December 21 to respond to the proposals.