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Anger erupts over travellers' illegal site

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 17, 2009

The travellers' site next to the A38 at Marley Head, South Brent. They are seeking planning permission to stay

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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.

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    dave grylls, Kingsteignton  |  March 17 2009, 8:28PM

    Sorry ,but every travellers site I have seen seems to be dirty,untidy and without any responsibility to make it otherwise. If travellers feel that they should be shown respect then show us your intentions are good. So far it has not worked. Sites are often left in a disgusting state and we the local taxpayers are left to pick up the tab. Suppose everyone thought that we could move in on other peoples land, utter chaos would result. Take part the system like the rest of us.

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    Heather, exeter  |  March 17 2009, 12:33PM

    Why do they think they have a right to that land? It is like setting up in someones backgarden! It isn't a sustainable way to live, from the footage on the news last night the site looked ruined with rubbish piled up. Travellers are not going to get any sympathy from the taxpayer.

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    TOM, surrey  |  March 17 2009, 10:55AM

    thank god for common sense!.....whether it be illegal immigrants or travellers pouring into the county such large numbers is unsustainable in such a poor rural economic area!...i find it strange that these people want to locate here...where there is no work!...or pperhaps thats the point...and drain resources on our education, and social welfare services!.....far better to live closer to cities!...there's a thought!...where there is a chance of work!!