Devon

Gypsy feared eviction from own land in Whitestone

A Romany Gypsy has said he fears eviction after a retrospective planning application for eight traveller pitches in Devon was rejected by the council.

Clarence Ware moved into four caravans with his family on a farm he bought in Whitestone, near Exeter.

The application for four permanent and four temporary pitches was rejected. Mr Ware will appeal the decision.

Teignbridge District Council (TDC) said he was entitled to appeal and eviction was unlikely.

'Strong guidance'

Mr Ware said: "I'm absolutely gutted at their decision because the council themselves have been sending requests to the normal public requesting people to put forward parts of land that would be suitable to accommodate gypsies and travellers.

"My site is totally secluded from anyone's eye, you can't see it and I've still got no permission.

"If I have to, I'll go all the way to the human rights [court]. The caravans will remain here, we will definitely appeal the decision."

There are currently two traveller sites in Whitestone and TDC said it had approved 24 permanent and 10 transit pitches in its district since 2006.

Humphrey Clemens, chair of planning at TDC said: "We've got strong guidance from Highways that the access to this site is not suitable.

"For us to ignore that advice would put us in jeopardy should a fatal accident occur with children leaving this site to attend school or anything.

"We made a decision based on evidence given to us and Clarence Ware is quite entitled to go for appeal. We've got to balance the needs of the applicant and the objectors."

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