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Travellers told they can stay at campsite
12:03pm Friday 6th July 2012 in News
A gypsy family has been given the go-ahead to continue living on a temporary basis on a site it owns in Burton-in-Lonsdale.
Nearby residents and Bentham Town Council had argued that Robert Dugdale, his wife and six children should be moved off the site at Clay Barn, Pottery Field, at Waterside Potteries.
But Craven councillors this week - although pulling back from giving permanent permission - gave the family another three years on the site, which is outside the built-up limits of the village.
The permission, which will run until July 2015, is restricted to Mr Dugdale and his immediate family and will allow only two caravans on the site.
The family, which has been on the site close to the River Greta since October 2004, lives in a mobile static home and a touring caravan and makes use of a barn and a wooden shed.
Monday's planning committee meeting, attended by several nearby residents of Waterside Potteries and a friend and supporter of Mr Dugdale, heard that temporary permission should be given on the grounds that the council would have to provide permanent gypsy sites in the near future.
Councillors were also advised that refusal reasons on highways issues would be difficult as temporary use had already been established.
A spokesman for objectors told the committee that the family had lived on the site for eight years and always on a temporary basis and urged councillors to refuse permission and make the Dugdales move somewhere else.
He said there were problems with access to the site, which was shared by residents, and there were fears about a sewage storage tank used by the Dugdales.
But William Lloyd, a farmer and music publisher, said he had known Mr Dugdale all his life and described him as a good man, a hard worker and with a lot of support in the community.
He said Mr Dugdale was a gypsy and proud of his heritage, but that there had been a certain amount of prejudice.
Mr Lloyd also questioned the ability of the council to come up with alternative gypsy sites when the one occupied by the Dugdales had been proved as suitable.
“It is illogical to refuse this on the grounds that (the council) expects eight new sites to become available,” he said.
Concerns were raised by ward councillors Lin Barrington (Ind) and Linda Brockbank (Cons) about drainage and alleged intimidation from the family towards other residents.
But Coun Paul English (Lib Dem) urged councillors to approve permanent permission.
He predicted the committee would be faced with another application in three years’ time and thought there was no reason not to accept the site as a permanent one.
“This site has been tried and tested, I can see no evidence against it, it looks a very nice development,” he said.