Aerial view from the church around the Wiltshire village of Bromham in Wiltshire, near to the towns of Calne, Melksham, Devizes and Chippenham

By Bromham Webmaster, Sep 13 2016 06:41PM

VILLAGERS in Bromham are celebrating after a planning inspector dismissed an appeal by a family of Irish travellers who wanted to set up home in the village.

Hundreds of people had written to Wiltshire Council to protest at the plan for a traveller pitch on land in New Road and were delighted when the council turned down the application.

But in January an appeal was heard against the decision and inspector Richard Clegg was told that Douglas Ward and his wife Mary-Ann had fallen out with gypsy patriarch Patrick Ward.

Mr Ward snr had told his son that he and his family had to leave a gypsy site in Semington, near Melksham, and that he was going to let other members of the extended family take over their pitch.

In his findings Mr Clegg said that the main issue was the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area. He said in his report: "This location is outside the limits of development for Bromham."

He said that the Wiltshire Core Strategy made it clear that development outside the boundary should be strictly controlled. He also pointed out that policy stated that new traveller sites should be very strictly limited in open countryside.

He said: "The centre of Bromham is within walking distance from the appeal site, but New Road has no footways or lighting. I note that the Council’s Highways Development Control Officer has expressed concerns about the location of the site and considers that residential use would be heavily reliant on the use of private vehicles.

"Given the nature of New Road, it is likely that most journeys to and from the proposed pitch would be made by car, particularly for shopping and during inclement weather and the hours of darkness."

Mr Clegg also looked at the background of the Greenacres site in Semington where Mr Ward had been living but was no longer wanted. He said: "I heard that this change was due to a breakdown in family relationships. I acknowledge that, on the position set out at the hearing, the appellant will not be allocated a pitch there.

"However the breakdown in relationships has not been so severe as to prevent the family doubling-up there whilst this appeal is pursued, and circumstances may change again in the future."

He decided that the need to protect the countryside outweighed the interference of the family's human rights. He also said that although the Wards as Irish Travellers were a distinct racial group and the need for pitches might indicate an inequality in housing opportunities for Irish Travellers it was not sufficient to outweigh the serious harm to the character and appearance of the area the plan would cause.

Gazette and Herald - 10th September 2016

By Bromham Webmaster, Mar 10 2015 07:20PM

PLANS to build a home for a gypsy family in Bromham has resulted in more than 500 letters of objection being sent to Wiltshire Council.

A third packed public meeting was held in the village after a revised plan for a static home with a day room and space for a touring caravan, septic tank and parking was sent to Wiltshire Council.

But villagers do not think the changes, which include a bund and landscaping, have improved the scheme and they are still opposed to the plan, which will be discussed by the eastern area planning committee.

Among those who wrote to complain was Ian Potter who said: "This application is in open country side in a prominent position at one of the highest points in Bromham village. It can be clearly seen from the road and surrounding footpaths.

"This type of development will have an unacceptable impact on the appearance of the landscape, detrimental to the surrounding countryside."

Malcolm Paget wrote: "This is an inappropriate development, as applied for, would decrease land available for agricultural purposes and associated local employment and it will never be replaced at a time when growing food is of national importance and is likely to become more so."

Nigel Wellings was worried about safety for if there was an increase in traffic. He wrote: "The road is single track and is often used by cyclists, horse riders and farm vehicles."

Parish council chairman Peter Paget said: "The revision to the plan did nothing to improve it in our eyes. People at the latest public meeting still had all the same concerns about access and appearance."

He thanked Wiltshire Councillor Jonathan Seed who chaired the public meetings and had shown support for the village's concerns.

Wiltshire highways officers have recommended the plan is refused because of the access sight lines and the fact that the site is remote from public transport and village amenities and so occupiers would need to use their own transport.

Gazette and Herald - Saturday 7 March 2015

By Bromham Webmaster, Dec 14 2014 11:26AM

ANGRY villagers turned out in force last night to protest at plans for a gypsy site in Bromham.

About 50 people attended the parish council meeting in the social centre – there was not enough room in the small committee room to let them all in.

Residents are upset at plans for a static home with a day room and space for a touring caravan, septic tank and parking on a field in New Road.

Villager Andy Fawthrop, of New Road, circulated a leaflet yesterday warning people about the planning application that was published on Saturday.

He said: “I don’t think it’s the right place for this.

"This is agricultural land in an isolated position and it is a stupid place to propose this sort of development. They want to put earth mounds and a fence around it – it’s going to look like a compound.”

He and other villagers also fear that if planning permission for one family is approved then others may follow.

There will now be a public meeting next Tuesday at 7.30pm in St Nicholas Church. The objection period has also been extended until January 15.

Mr Fawthrop said: “Everyone is pleased that more information will be available and they will be told how to object.

“It was impossible for everyone to get the paperwork and have their say by the original deadline of January 1.”

Parish councillor Pam Thomas, of New Road, said she hoped protesters would keep objections to planning issues.

She said: “We are a friendly and welcoming village. I would hate it if people allowed their prejudices to come out.”

Agents Thurdleigh Planning Consultancy said that the application was on behalf of a gypsy family living in Semington.

The report said: “The applicant is currently living within a cramped authorised traveller site at Semington.

"Whilst an application has been submitted to expand the Semington site, there is insufficient space to accommodate all the family members. The applicant is in need of a permanent site as they are soon to find themselves without a settled base.”

Gazette and Herald - Tuesday 9 December 2014

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View from the tower of SAt Nicholas Church, Bromham, Wiltshire