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Traveller plans for new site thwarted
4:10pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Echo News
CONTROVERSIAL plans to develop a new traveller site, for the sick and elderly, on a Laindon wildlife haven have been thwarted for a second time.
The decision by the Government to dismiss proposals for a 12-pitch caravan park, with stables, on open land off Church Road had to be re-opened following a High Court challenge.
However, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government, who reviewed the decision has reached the same conclusion.
Residents who fought against the first appeal, and made submissions to the review, warmly welcomed Mr Pickle’s decision.
Paul Martin, 42, from nearby Royal Oak Chase, galvanised residents to oppose the plans.
He said: I am glad to see Mr Pickles has stuck by the council decision which we felt was the right one.
“I just wish the council would now protect the land in some way, but seem reluctant to do it.”
John Dornan, Tory councillor for Laindon Park, said: “This would have wrecked a green haven within Laindon. It is good to see common sense has prevailed. A huge weight has been lifted from the area.”
The review was ordered after council officers pointed to the wrong environmental legislation when giving evidence to the original Government inspector.
Mr Pickles gave substantial consideration to the health problems they faced including Down’s syndrome, diabetes, cancer and heart problems.
However, he said there was no specific need for their care to be met in Laindon and no-one had given evidence in person.
In his report he concluded damage to protected species, such as reptiles and amphibians, would not be mitigated by the proposals and there would also be an increased traffic hazard to children attending the primary school opposite.
The site would also have a negative impact on neighbour’s homes.
Stuart Hardwicke Carruthers, a campaigner for the travellers said: “We will look at the report before deciding whether to challenge it.”