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Liz Truss visits those worried about plans for travellers’ site in West Dereham

Liz Truss has joined nearly 100 others in objecting to a proposed travellers’ site – with some nearby businesses warning her they would have to close.

On Friday, the South West Norfolk MP visited the proposed location of a new site on Station Road in West Dereham, where she heard from residents, businesses and councillors about their concerns over the proposal.

The group she met – which included West Norfolk borough councillor Peter Hodson and parish councillors – said that the establishment of such a site would have a “detrimental impact” on the community and businesses.

Liz Truss visited the proposed travellers' site in West Dereham on Friday
Liz Truss visited the proposed travellers' site in West Dereham on Friday

Following the visit, Ms Truss said: "There are concerns on a number of fronts about this proposal.

“The single track road adjacent to the site offers limited access and would provide inadequate parking for residents and travellers alike. The track also has inadequate drainage and is not suitable to support a travellers' site.

"The land on Station Road is currently farmland and the change of use to a travellers' site would present further challenges regarding water, sewage and additional pressure on infrastructure.

“The farmland conversion would also threaten flora and fauna, and I gather the RSPCA have concerns about the wellbeing of local wildlife.

"I also heard from several local businesses which would either be forced to close or be adversely affected by the establishment of a travellers' site here.

“Taking all these concerns together, this is why I have made a formal objection to the proposal.”

Residents also told Ms Truss that they have concerns about potential “nuisance” emanating from the site, including “excessive noise, increased traffic flow through the village and night-time lighting”.

Ahead of the matter going before the borough council’s planning committee in February, Ms Truss has written to the authority formally objecting to the proposed site.

Hers is on public file alongside the objections of 98 others.

The application, first submitted in September, is seeking the relocation of existing access, as well as the change of use of the land for the stationing of ten gypsy or traveller plots, each containing one static home and touring caravan.

The applicant is a Mr H Rody, operating through agent SJM Planning.

A planning report submitted as part of the application has cited a borough council commitment to increase the number of gypsy and traveller pitches by 76 within the next five years.

It adds: “This proposal could make a valuable contribution towards the council’s deficit of gypsy and traveller pitches.

“By providing for ten sites on this site would ensure the efficient use of the land resulting in the requirement for fewer sites elsewhere in the borough.

“Due to separation distances the proposal would not result in an adverse impact upon the amenities of neighbouring properties.”

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