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Market Drayton landowner's pride at permission for traveller site

Mar 26, 2023Mar 26, 2023

A landowner said he was "proud" to have won permission for a traveller site in the face of widespread opposition.

The applicants have put a caravan on top of a shipping container to announce the development in Market Drayton, drawing a mixed reaction from locals.

The land off the A53 is approved for five families with four caravans.

Jamie, who did not wish to give his surname, said there was a need for sites in Shropshire and his prominent display was "simply advertising".

He said he was "so happy" for the plans to have been given the green light by Shropshire Council.

"The days of pulling on to car parks, industrial estates and the side of the road has faded out over the years," he told the BBC.

"Travellers are now trying to move with the times and have a permanent residence, but still travel the country throughout the school holidays and any other chance we get to keep our culture going."

The plot is also near two new housing developments by Tilia Homes and David Wilson Homes, which were among several individuals and groups opposed to the plans.

Market Drayton's town clerk also objected, citing highway issues and concerns that nature could be affected, while Moreton Say Parish Council said it was an "unsuitable location within the open countryside and without safe and convenient access to public transport" and would "result in harm to the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside".

Consultants Cerda Planning submitted a lengthy objection, saying it was inappropriate for the area, adding it would be unsafe and possibly cause more collisions as "vehicles will still be accelerating away from the roundabout upon reaching the access".

Pedestrian access was also a concern, as there is no pathway leading to the town and residents would have to walk on the grass verge at the side of the road.

But Jamie said: "We now have a new entrance designed by a highways specialist including a new footpath.

"This is just another development on the main road exactly the same as the housing developments opposite."

Jamie, who shares the land with two other owners, said they withdrew a planning application for the site in 2019 to sort out the issue with the entrance.

"We could have just moved on to the land but we didn't, we've done everything properly," he said.

Jamie said the caravan was erected on top of the shipping container by one of his business partners.

It has drawn mixed reviews on social media, with some calling it an "arrogant" move and others praising the landowners' "amazing sense of humour" and wishing them the best with their plans.

"I describe the caravan and container banner as marmite - people love it or hate it," Jamie said.

He also said comments towards travellers are like "water off a duck's back" to him.

"You've got to put up the fact that you will never be accepted," he said.

Families living on the site will still pay council tax and utility bills, he explained.

"They don't want us rocking up on to car parks, council don't provide traveller sites and when we do get planning approval, still people are against it. Where do you want us to go?

"We are born and bred to be travellers, we live in caravans even if we can afford a house - it doesn't matter."

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