Traveller renews bid to convert land

A gypsy is again trying to move on to a site in West Ashling after being refused planning permission last year because of the presence of a protected species of newt.

Applicant Cornelius Sullivan has applied to change the use of the land at plot J, Pond Farm in Newells Lane, to that of a private gypsy and traveller caravan site.

It is the same site which was the subject of a planning inquiry last year after his previous application went to appeal.

But he lost that battle in May on the grounds that the inspector did not believe he was a true gypsy as defined by government policies, and that there was not enough evidence shown to prove there would not be any harm to great crested newts which reside in the nearby pond.

It was also said that it would be in the interests of the area, which is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance if the appeal was dismissed.

The new application has sought to offer more evidence Mr Sullivan is a gypsy for traveller purposes and has travelled working as a farrier, and was travelling on a permanent basis between 2007 and 2009.

The application also states: “New evidence establishes that there is very little prospect of greater crested newts being present in the ponds near the application site but that even if there were, no harm would be caused to them by the proposal.

“This represents a further significant material change in the circumstances at play in this matter and indicates that the planning merits of the proposal need to be reassessed in light of these changes.

“It is for these reasons that a new planning application is being pursued.”

Inspector at the inquiry in May last year Christopher Anstey said: “Dismissal of the appeal may mean that Mr Sullivan and his family will have to vacate the site without any alternative accommodation being readily available.

“This would represent a substantial interference with their home and family life.

“However the harm caused by the development, in terms of its effect upon the economic well-being of the country, which includes the preservation of the environment, would be unacceptable even for a temporary period of three years.

“Insufficient information has been submitted to determine the impact of the development on the great crested newt.

“Consequently potential harm to this protected species during temporary occupation of the appeal site and the associated land cannot be ruled out.

“As a result the scheme is in conflict with national and local planning policies.”

To comment on the application write to Chichester District Council quoting CH/12/00458/COU.