Old water pump site could become traveller pitches

Proposed traveller site in Ferry Road, Littlehampton
Proposed traveller site in Ferry Road, Littlehampton

A FORMER water waste treatment works in Littlehampton could be converted into a gypsy traveller site, if plans are approved by Arun District Council.

An application has been submitted on behalf of Mr F. Vine to turn the old pumping station site in Ferry Road, Littlehampton, into six permanent pitches for travellers.

People living in the area have already written letters of objection to Arun, which is due to consider the application by April 14.

One letter, which says the average age of residents in the area is around 70, reads: “I do not think that a gypsy site is appropriate in the area, where the safety and security is of prime importance and transient residents would not fit in…

“I therefore absolutely oppose this planning application. It will certainly spoil our community and I believe it would not be at all welcome. ”

Residents have also pointed to the fact the site is within the Littlehampton to Middleton strategic gap.

However, a report on accommodation needs for gypsies and travellers, commissioned by the Coastal West Sussex Authorities, of which Arun is one, concluded Arun needs a minimum of 12 additional pitches between 2012 and 2017.

In addition, the report said Arun needs a further three pitches between 2018 and 2022, and three pitches between 2023 and 2027.

Because the council’s local plan has not been formally adopted, any policies contained within it ‘can be given no weight in determination of any applications and appeals’, the planning statement says.

The statement adds: “The site is well suited to gypsy and traveller use as it is a quiet area with little vehicular traffic. The application site is previously developed land and the proposal would return a vacant site to use with the benefit of providing additional pitches for gypsies and travellers.

“Furthermore, the application site has been used as an unauthorised gypsy pitch for many years and there would be a clear advantage regularising the existing pitch and providing additional pitches on Ferry Road rather than seeking to provide elsewhere, where gypsy accommodation is not established. Therefore, redevelopment of the site as a gypsy and traveller’s site would be acceptable in principle.”

For the full story, read this week’s Littlehampton Gazette, out from Thursday, March 13.