"I'll sell my land to travellers if council don't let me build a bungalow"

"I'll sell my land to travellers if council don't let me build a bungalow"

First published in Echo News by

A FURIOUS landowner is threatening to sell ten acres of land to travellers after a row with council planners.

Neighbours in Southend Road, Fobbing, near the Five Bells roundabout, fear the site could become another Dale Farm if Denis O’Callaghan ends up putting it on the market.

Mr O’Callaghan, 79, has owned Brook House Farm site – just inside the Thurrock Council boundary – for eight years and had hoped to build on it.

On the advice of architects and surveyors, he recently applied to the council to replace a derelict house which was destroyed in a fire a few years ago with a bungalow on the site.

First the council said it would allow the bungalow if he bulldozed a second building, used for storage and capable of bring rented out to a business.

The council later refused his application, on the grounds it would be an “intrusion on the green belt” and the proposed bungalow was too big for the site.

However, Mr O’Callaghan claims the measurements officials quoted in their refusal were wrong. He said: “I’ve been dealing with planning applications of my own for 50 years and I’ve never heard of anything so stupid in my life. All I want to do is pull down a building which is burned out, derelict and dangerous and replace it with a smaller bungalow on the patch of land right next to it.

“Why do they want me to pull down a building that is already there, which has nothing wrong with it and could be used byabusiness, instead of pulling down a burned-out shell. Shouldn’t the council be promoting something that could support a business?”

Mr O’Callaghan said he was unwilling to sink even more cash into an appeal against the council’s decision and unless officials explained what he sees as a discrepancy in the quoted measurements, he would put the land up for sale to the highest bidder.

He said: “I don’t want to sell my land to travellers I don’t want to do that to the neighbours, not one of whom has objected to my proposals.

The council are just idiots, but I’m a businessman and I have a great big piece of land that I can’t do anything with.”

Mr O’Callaghan, has already put up “for sale” signs at the site entrance and claims he has been inundated with offers from travellers, keen to buy the land.

AThurrock Council spokesman said: “It is important to note the applicant, of course, has the right of appeal against the council’s decision. The measurements used have been scaled from the plans submitted by the applicant.”

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