The travellers' site next to the A38 at Marley Head, South Brent. They are seeking planning permission to stay
TRAVELLERS' hopes of gaining planning permission for a site in a national park where they have been living illegally took a knock last night after a parish council opposed the proposal.
More than 60 people turned out to a packed public meeting in South Brent, South Devon, to discuss the application for land at Marley Head.
The group, made up of around 40 people, including 14 children, has asked the Dartmoor National Park Authority to approve a request for 25 pitches and parking for up to 50 cars.
Kevin Chamberlain, chairman of South Brent Parish Council's planning committee, said the committee believed the application was against national park policy. He added: "We aren't against travellers. This is not a 'Not in my backyard' scenario. It is particularly the scale and location of this development which makes it unreasonable."
The council will urge national park planners to visit the site if they are considering approval. If not, councillors would support an enforcement action order. The Government has ordered councils to find legal sites for travellers to live. But some residents, including farmer Gerald Cleave, who co-owns the land, want them to leave. He said: "How would you feel if someone moved into your house and you couldn't get them out? It's exactly the same."
But Cher Richard, who lives in the camp, has asked for understanding.
She has appealed to the park authority and to South Brent Parish Council to support their cause. She had hoped the council would see it as a way to promote tolerance, and dispel stereotypes about travellers.
"It's a green and sustainable way of life," she said. The application will go before the Dartmoor National Park Authority in May.