Hundreds attend meeting over plan for travellers' pitch in Notts village

Residents turned out in their hundreds to discuss plans for a travellers pitch in Rainworth.
Residents turned out in their hundreds to discuss plans for a travellers pitch in Rainworth.

Hundreds of Rainworth residents joined a community meeting to discuss controversial plans to build nine travellers' pitches behind a care home for the elderly.

Members of the group Rainworth Against Inappropriate Development were amazed by the turnout at the meeting at the Miner's Welfare Social Club in Kirklington Road last night (Tuesday, January 10).

The site backs onto a care home and over-50s housing complex.

The site backs onto a care home and over-50s housing complex.

Amanda Bates, 60, works for a holiday company said her mother lives in the Churchfield Care Home, which would be impacted by the development of the site in Churchfield Drive to home a possible 27 caravans.

The grandmother-of-two said: "What began as four to five people in my lounge grew to fill the Rainworth Miners Welfare, it was incredible. It proves how passionate the village is. We just cannot cope with what thy're wanting us to accept."

The general feeling at the meeting was one of 'major concern', said Amanda, who works for a holiday company.

"It's not what it is or who it is, it's the development itself and where it's being placed. There are elements of concern such as how will local doctors deal with the extra, how will local schools cope?

Neighbours say the position of the land is inappropriate for the suggested usage.

Neighbours say the position of the land is inappropriate for the suggested usage.

A lot of people don't want to talk about this because they're worried about seeming racist, but we're concerned villagers. This village has grown and grown, which is good but you need the infrastructure to meet that growth and it's not there.

"Where this plot is, there is a care home, the land behind the care home is an old railway site, it's elevated, so it's not hidden and whatever is built on there will overlook the care home, and we're talking about very vulnerable people, nervous people with dementia who need looking after. On the other side is a private over 50s park home. It's a one track access so our concern is also the amount of traffic that will be using it."

Newark and Sherwood District Council said it is required by the government to find 25 permanent pitches for travellers between 2013 and 2018, and a further 14 between 2018 and 2023.

Just four have been delivered so far and one site at Churchfield Drive is now subject to a planning application.

The thin site access is said to present a particular problem if extra traffic is to come on and off the land.

The thin site access is said to present a particular problem if extra traffic is to come on and off the land.

The 'Change of use of land for the siting of a caravans for residential purposes for nine gypsy pitches together with the erection of a day room' was submitted on November 29, with each pitch said to give space for up to three caravans.

Marianne Godber said the was concern as the site is near a residential area for older people.

She said: "People are against it because they're worried about the issues that you get around travellers site, about being abused when you go to the shops because you've got to pass the site on a little lane.

Eleanor Overton, who is handling the application for the land-owner, said she understood residents' concerns but 'there were good and bad people in every society'.

Site images courtesy of Amanda Bates

Site images courtesy of Amanda Bates

She added: "This community has been incredibly and unfairly stereotyped. There's no need to be frightened."

A Newark and Sherwood District Council spokesman said: "The council has ensured appropriate consultation in line with legislative requirements. Letters setting out details of the application were sent to neighbours from December 14 – the date the application was validated - and a site notice posted today (January 4, 2017) which gives a consultation period of 21 days from today for interested parties to comment on the application (closing date January 25, 2017).

"The council’s website has been updated today to reflect this consultation period. The target date for a decision on the application is February 8, 2017."