Brigg gypsy/traveller site refused planning permission at Scunthorpe Civic Centre today - by casting vote
A site housing gypsy/traveller families in Brigg was refused planning permission at a meeting held in Scunthorpe Civic Centre this afternoon (Wednesday Sept 19).
North Lincolnhshire Council's planning committee rejected the application to retain change of use of land for 12 plots at a site in Mill Lane.
With councillors equally divided, the issue was settled on the casting vote of the committee chairman, Councillor Arthur Bunyan, of Broughton.
The council's planning department had recommended councillors should consider granting permission, subject to conditions.
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However, the three Brigg and Wolds representatives all raised local concerns.
Councillor Carl Sherwood said the site was outside Brigg's development area and was in a location "that has always been sodden."
Councillor Rob Waltham described the site as "vulnerable" in terms of potential flooding.
Councillor Nigel Sherwood said that although 12 plots were mentioned in the application, that did not mean 12 caravans, as up to four homes were possible on a plot.
He pointed out that the end of Mill Lane was an unadopted road and he was concerned about all the extra vehicles having to access the A18 on Bridge Street.
Planning expert Dr Angus Murdoch, speaking for the applicants, told the meeting that raising the level of the pitches "made safe" the site, with a flood storage area set aside in a nearby paddock.
Phil Wallis, the council's head of development control, defined "32 potential units" on the site, said the Environment Agency now accepted the homes were "safe" in flooding terms, and that highways staff had raised no safety concerns about Mill Lane.
Committee members undertook a visit to the site yesterday.
Councillor John Collinson (Ashby), who was in favour of granting permission, told the committee that the site he saw was well established and well kept.
Councillor Sandra Bainbridge (Frodingham) was also supportive, saying she was very impressed with the way things were being managed.
The committee's reasons for refusing permission related to highway issues, flood risk and the nearby unadopted stretch of road.
Anyone, or any group, refused planning permission by a local council has the right of appeal to the Government, which generally means an independent inspector being appointed to consider whether or not to overturn the local authority's decision.
The appeals procedure can take many months to complete.
It is too soon, in this case, to say whether there will be an appeal lodged on behalf of the gypsy/travellers on this site in Brigg.