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Canterbury City Council orders removal of 37 caravans from Moate Farm traveller camp

Council officers have ordered that 37 caravans illegally installed at a traveller site in Canterbury must be removed.

The motorhomes were pitched up at Moate Farm in Fordwich without planning permission - resulting in the Stodmarsh Road camp trebling in size.

The site expanded without planning permission
The site expanded without planning permission

A retrospective application for their approval was refused by Canterbury City Council in January, and the authority has been in discussion with the site's owners since.

The authority said it hoped the caravans would be dismantled voluntarily, yet no such action has happened.

Therefore, fed-up officers have decided to issue an enforcement notice ordering the landowner to "permanently cease using the land to station the additional caravans".

The legal process for serving the notice - which was issued on Thursday - means it will come into effect on Sunday, August 22.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Colin Spooner said: "We always look to resolve planning breaches like this without the need for formal action, but regrettably this was not possible on this occasion.

Moate Farm, off Stodmarsh Road
Moate Farm, off Stodmarsh Road

"The rules around planning permission are there for a reason and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action when needed."

The owners of Moate Farm were told in 2018 that they could increase the number of caravans on the plot from six to 20.

Their bid had initially been rejected by the city council but the decision was later overturned by a government planning inspector, who blamed the authority’s lack of traveller provision as the main reason for his verdict.

But rather than stop at 20 caravans, it emerged last summer that the number of motorhomes on the site had grown to 57.

It is the additional 37 caravans that must be removed.

An appeal has been lodged against the council's previous refusal of the retrospective planning application back in January, and a separate bid for eight more caravans has also been submitted.

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