Bid for gypsy family pitches at Bury face growing opposition

PLANS for a permanent gypsy and traveller site on farming land close to Bury have brought a flood of objections.

The proposal has been submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority by gypsy father and son James and Jake Stanley.

They want to change the use of the land from agricultural to a gypsy site for two permanent pitches at the junction of the A29 and the B2138, on the outskirts of Watersfield.

They say they have been offered the land by a good friend who realised they had need of it as they had nowhere else to live.

But Bury Parish Council is objecting and parish councillors are urging individuals to send their own comments to the national park.

“If we can flood them with your opinions by November 3 they will have to take note,” urges the parish council website.

Parish councillors say they have been watching the land for a some time.

“It is agricultural land and so far there had been no major transgression.

“The land seems to have changed hands a few times but this is the first time that an actual ‘change of use’ has been applied for.”

Around 20 letters of objection have now been received by the national park.

Tim Hatcher, who lives nearby in Bury Road, said he knew the site well and objected strongly.

“Bury Gate is a very rural community, comprising a small number of houses set in significant area of paddocks, tree line roads and woodland,” he said.

“The trees and fields in this area are typical of the area designated as a national park.

“The national planning policy framework states permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of such an area and the way it functions.

“In this case I feel very strongly that this statement is true.”

Tom Tyrwhitt-Drake said he had been a resident of Watersfield for 37 years.

“I can’t but believe there are more suitable sites in West Sussex which are safer and better for our travellers,” he said.

He objected on the grounds the national park should be protected from unnecessary development and that the site was in a dangerous position, very close to the busy A29 opposite a hairpin bend.