Local Tory Parliamentary Candidate, Gordon Henderson, has called for an urgent review of planning laws following news that Swale Borough Council planning officers are recommending that councillors grant approval for a gypsy caravan site on land opposite Garden Of England Crematorium and Memorial Gardens in Bobbing.
Mr Henderson said:
“Local residents are quite rightly angry about the proposal for a gypsy site opposite the Crematorium. It is a quite inappropriate location. However, they should not direct their anger at Swale Borough Council.
“Borough planning officers have an obligation to follow planning laws and guidance handed down by faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall, so it is the Government who should be criticised.
“Once again the current planning laws are shown to be not fit for purpose. The previous owner of the land was refused permission to build a bungalow on the plot and yet now we are told that the site is suitable for one touring and one static caravan.
“A planning officer is quoted as saying that the application for a bungalow was turned down because a ‘new permanent home in the countryside would not generally be accepted’. He goes on to say that a gypsy site would be allowed because there are ‘no specific planning constraints’.
“That is an outrage! What on earth does this planning officer think a “static caravan” is. if not a permanent home?
“The truth is that the present planning laws discriminate against the settled community in favour of travellers. In the past couple of years we have seen similar situations in Upchurch and at Brambledown on Sheppey.
“Such discrimination is simply not acceptable and I would like to see an urgent review of planning laws and have a guidance note issued to ensure that settled and travelling communities are treated in exactly the same way when it comes to consideration of planning applications.”