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D-Day looms over Fakenham gipsy site

PUBLISHED: 15:49 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 07 July 2010

Richard Batson

A travellers' transit site on the outskirts of Fakenham looks likely to get the go-ahead despite opposition from a town referendum and neighbouring villages.

A travellers' transit site on the outskirts of Fakenham looks likely to get the go-ahead despite opposition from a town referendum and neighbouring villages.

The 10-place campsite off the bypass near the football ground is earmarked for approval when it is debated by planning councillors.

Objections have been lodged by nearby residents, Kettlestone and Little Snoring parish councils, along with Fakenham county councillor David Callaby - highlighting concerns over road safety, questionable need, lack of consultation and the impact on the local industry, tourism and environment.

But a report to North Norfolk District Council's west area development committee says highways officials have no concerns, recaps on a major public consultation over siting, and recommends approval - subject to sorting out minor loose ends, such as adding movement-sensitive lighting to improve safety.

Mr Callaby last night said the community was against the site, as proved by a referendum last year - when people voted 1,472 to 82 against the plan.

“I am not against travellers sites. There is a need for them. But this is in the wrong place - on a busy main road, on the brow of a hill and near a corner.”

The planning report to next Thursday's meeting, adds the site is not close to any homes so there were unlikely to be any noise or disturbance issues.

But it says Kettlestone parish council saw no point in objecting since they “consider a decision has already been made” but suggested the site should only be given a temporary five year permission which would only be renewed if there was proven demand.

Fakenham Town Council also saw no planning reasons to object, but added that permitting vehicles to exit right on to the main round would be “extremely foolish.”

Two transit sites are being sought in the district by the council, to give it more powers to move illegal encampments, and a similar one at Cromer, next to the council's own Holt Road headquarters, was approved last month.

There has been criticism of public consultation during the search, but the council says it was done thoroughly through a special forum with local representatives, and focussed on locations which had attracted traveller stopovers in the past.

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