Ruffley welcomes Council decision on travellers site

Monday, 15 November, 2004

Conservatives outline new planning control policies

The retrospective planning application, made by the travellers for the site established in August in the Elmswell/Woolpit area, was considered by Mid Suffolk District Council on Monday 15th November at 9 am.

The decision made was to reject the application by five votes to one on the Northern Area Planning Control committee.

David said:

'Whilst I welcome the decision taken by the locally elected Mid Suffolk District Councillors, this issue, of buying land and then seeking to develop it without first being granted planning permission, is clearly a national issue as well as a local one. It requires a national response to provide assistance to smaller district councils, such as Mid Suffolk, to deal with this problem.

'The travellers could still re-submit the application to provide details that they had omitted from the first application. Alternatively instead of resubmitting, the travellers could go straight to appeal. This could then drag on for months if not years.

'The Conservative Party in Parliament has developed a plan which would help tackle this issue by strengthening the existing planning laws. Firstly, we aim to shorten the planning process, which currently enables travellers to stay on sites for a number of years whilst the application goes through the courts. Secondly, we are also proposing legislation to prevent non-UK residents from buying and then re-selling green belt land, which is the current trend among travellers. These proposals would restrict the opportunities for illegal development and also speed up the process to deal with them when they do take place.

'I will continue to campaign for the law to be changed so that it applies equally to all members of the community. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said he will at this issue. However, what we need urgently is action not words.