Chobham travellers lose bid to stay at Pennypot Lane

Image caption, A report to the council said it was accepted the group of travellers needed an alternative site

Travelling showmen who have been living on a field in Chobham have been told they cannot stay there.

The group turned the field in Pennypot Lane into six caravan plots in 2002 and had applied to Surrey Heath Borough Council to stay there permanently.

Councillors on the planning committee refused the application on Monday.

Members were told there were no special circumstances to outweigh harm to the greenbelt site. The Showmen's Guild had backed the group but has not commented.

Since 2002, the council has served enforcement notices and the travellers have made several applications and appeals but they were ordered to leave.

After the meeting, Chas Bradfield, the council's director of customer services, said: "In the end, the committee elected to refuse the application."

History of appeals

He said the applicants had a right of appeal for six months from the date of the decision.

He added: "There is a history of decisions and appeals and High Court action. What the council will do now is consider the right way forward and the most appropriate action in the future."

Resident George Pritchard, who lives in Pennypot Lane, welcomed the decision.

He said: "It confirms the decisions that have been made ever since this land was occupied in January 2002.

"Two public inquiries and a High Court injunction have found in favour of the council in refusing planning permission.

"It's affected my life from a visual point of view. To me, it's an eyesore. There is a lot of old tat - old sheds, old pieces of equipment. It's just a complete eyesore.

"It's screened from the road by the trees in the summer, but when the leaves fall this eyesore is open to all and sundry."

A report to the planning committee said it was accepted the group needed an alternative site, but another site in Surrey Heath or an adjoining district would serve their needs equally as well.

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