Published: 06:00, 08 December 2020
Plans to treble the size of a traveller camp look set to be given the green light after receiving the backing of council planners.
Michael Cash launched a bid to locate four mobile homes and four caravans on a plot off the Old Thanet Way in Herne Bay at the beginning of this year.
The vehicles will add to the four already located on an adjacent parcel of land Mr Cash and his family have lived on for 14 years.
Despite drawings showing the new pitches will encroach on protected open space, Canterbury City Council officers have thrown their weight behind the scheme.
In documents released this week, they note: “Protected open spaces, including that on which the application site is located, have a positive amenity value for local residents.
“While the proposed development would result in the loss of protected open space, it would meet a need for additional pitches within the district.”
Mr Cash had a similar bid to place four mobile homes and four caravans on land to the west of the site snubbed two years ago.
Papers submitted to the city council show that the additional pitches will be occupied by his children and grandchildren.
In the documents, Mr Cash also argues that the scheme would help the authority increase the number of traveller sites across the district.
An assessment carried out by the city council two years ago found that 17 more pitches were needed to be created by 2022.
"While the proposed development would result in the loss of protected open space, it would meet a need for additional pitches within the district..."
The planners add: “The proposed occupants of the site are either the applicant’s children or grandchildren who currently have no permanent settled base.
“The proposed development would allow these family members to continue their nomadic way of life while also allowing their dependents to enrol at local schools.
“Weight should be given to the personal circumstances of the proposed occupants, and access to education and health facilities will be more advantageous from a permanent site than an unauthorised one.”
They also note that the city council received no objections to the scheme from residents neighbouring the land.
The officers’ recommendations will be considered by councillors when they vote on the proposals during a planning committee meeting this afternoon.