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Planning application for gypsy site at Oast Field Stud, Holywell Lane, Upchurch, refused

By Hayley Robinson

Plans for a gypsy site in Upchurch have been refused.

The application for a caravan, two touring vehicles and horse boxes, which already occupy Oast Field Stud in Holywell Lane, was turned down by Swale council’s planning committee.

It was originally discussed by members on May 8 but a decision was put on hold so a further report could be put together on whether or not temporary permission should be granted.

Against: Labour Cllr Angela Harrison
Against: Labour Cllr Angela Harrison

Upchurch Parish Council objected to the proposal, citing a list of concerns including the number of gypsy sites in the village, which currently totals nine.

Two letters of objection were also submitted by residents. Yet despite the officer’s recommendations to approve, the decision was made to reject it.

In all, nine councillors voted against, five were in favour and one abstained.

Cllr Angela Harrison (Lab) said: “It’s very difficult to understand the positive discrimination which is given in planning to people who are gypsies and travellers.

“I’m a substitute here at this meeting but I have been a member of this committee and it’s galling and absolutely gutting and incomprehensible to the members of the public that we represent that if they put in a planning application it’s not acceptable.

"But if you say ‘I’m a traveller’ then nine times out of 10 we bend over backwards to give you exactly what you want.

“It’s what makes it so difficult for members of this committee.”

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