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D-Day for South Tyneside gyspy camp plan

SITE BID ... West Pastures, West Boldon.

SITE BID ... West Pastures, West Boldon.

D-Day is looming for plans to create a permanent gypsy site in South Tyneside.

Members of the council’s Planning Committee are being recommended to agree to the building of 11 four-metre-high brick buildings to provide kitchen and bathroom facilities, utility storage and general living space at the travellers’ site in West Pastures, off Newcastle Road, West Boldon.

If the plan is approved on Monday, it would make the temporary site a permanent one – and create a precedent in the borough.

The application for the Green Belt land has raised the hackles of nearby farm owners who have labelled it a “gross over-development” of the area.

Coun Steve Harrison, UKIP representative for the Fellgate and Hedworth ward, which covers the site, is hoping committee members will today “see sense” and overturn their officers’ recommendation.

He said: “We opposed this three years ago when it went to appeal with the government inspector and he gave the travellers a stay of execution.

“In our opinion nothing has changed.

“I’m just hoping the members of the committee will see sense and reject this – despite what the officers are recommending.

“It’s all very well these officers recommending approval, but I’m sure they wouldn’t want it in their own backyard.

“I realise that they have to be somewhere, but this is a Green Belt land and it’s not appropriate.”

After a public inquiry, temporary planning permission for the travellers site was granted in March 2008 for a three-year period, which expired in March 2011.

It has since been identified as a “suitable site for gypsy/traveller development” in the council’s development plan.

Heine Planning Consultancy, representing the travellers, stressed the importance of access to amenities in each of the caravan plots.

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