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Gipsy home plan turned down

PUBLISHED: 13:50 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:48 07 July 2010

A bid to build what was labelled England's first retirement style development for gipsies over 55 has been thrown out because of a lack of "need".

Shirley Macann wanted to build six semi-detached bungalow style homes on a site at Beetley replacing a six pitch transit site for gipsies and travellers.

A bid to build what was labelled England's first retirement style development for gipsies over 55 has been thrown out because of a lack of “need”.

Shirley Macann wanted to build six semi-detached bungalow style homes on a site at Beetley replacing a six pitch transit site for gipsies and travellers.

She claimed that there was a demand for that type of accommodation and that it would be one of the first schemes of its kind in the country.

But Breckland Council's officers argued at a meeting of the planning committee on Monday that the scheme, on land in School Road, went against planning guidance, because it was outside the settlement boundary and in a rural location.

They also said there was not a proven need and there were vacant sheltered accommodation units available.

And questioned how the units would be held in perpetuity for the over 55s and it was added that development of the site would worsen the current shortfall of gipsy and traveller pitches in the district.

Recent figures showed there was a need for 13 pitches in the district.

The scheme had been apposed by the parish council but had received four letters of support, a 48 name petition and support from the district council ward representative.

A Mr Meiklejohn, speaking for Mrs Macann, said: “As far as I'm aware it would be the first in England.

“Surely travellers need sheltered accommodation like everyone else. With deteriorating health it is hard to get in and out of a caravan.

“The site has been considered suitable for many years as a transit camp. They would have their own cars and support network.”

The scheme has been worked on for about two years, he said, but Mrs Macann had been frustrated by the lack of help from the council on putting it forward.

The current application had been put forward in the hope she could discover what conditions the council would agree to, he said.

The committee refused the scheme.

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