Decision to allow Newent Southend Lane travellers to stay 'incredible'

Building work at a travellers site in Newent
Image caption The travellers bought the meadow in Newent in 2009

Campaigners against a travellers' site in Gloucestershire have reacted angrily after permission was granted for them to remain there.

Travellers bought the meadow on Southend Lane in Newent in 2009 and appealed after planning permission to build on the land was refused.

A report from the planning inspector to Forest of Dean District Council has said the group are allowed to stay.

Conservative councillor Len Lawton said he was "incredulous" to hear the news.

He said: "This particular inquiry appears to have reversed an earlier decision which is why I think it's so incredible."

There has been a legal battle since families in Newent bought and moved on to a meadow at Southend Lane in 2009.

Later, without planning permission, work was undertaken to install drainage and hard standings before mobile homes and caravans were moved on to the site.

Retrospective planning permission was refused and the families were told to leave the site in February 2012.

'Very disappointed'

However, an appeal was launched and the families were given a stay of execution pending the results of the latest inquiry.

Ray Hodgson, from campaign group Residents Against Inappropriate Development (RAID), said he was "very disappointed" at the planning inspectorate's decision.

He said: "We're annoyed because everybody so far has said this is an inappropriate site.

"I'm not sure whether there is anything we can do. Maybe the council can go to a judicial review, but I don't know if they want to."

Leader of the Conservative-controlled Forest of Dean District Council, Patrick Molyneux, said officers were looking through the planning report and before making a decision on how to proceed.

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