Anger over plans for new gypsy and traveller sites

Map of the proposed traveller site in Copthorne SUS-170709-134811001
Map of the proposed traveller site in Copthorne SUS-170709-134811001

Angry residents are putting forward scores of objections over plans to site two gypsy and traveller sites on land on the edge of Crawley.

Mid Sussex District Council is proposing to change the use of the land at Lower Hollow Copse, Copthorne Road, Copthorne, to site 16 permanent traveller pitches.

It is proposed to build the pitches on two sites - one housing 12 pitches and another housing four pitches, along with access roads, a manager’s office, amenity blocks, drainage works, parking and landscaping.

But a flood of protests against the proposals have been submitted to the district council by people living in the village, as well as in neighbouring Crawley Down and in Crawley.

Many say there is already a new residential development nearby and that there is insufficient school places, shops, doctors’ surgeries and other infrastructure in place to cope with further expansion.

There are also fears the development would lead to increased traffic leading to further congestion in the area.

In a letter to the council, one protester, from Bowers Place, Crawley Down, says: “We have two huge gypsy traveller sites already - we do not need more.”

Another woman, who lives at Abergavenny Gardens, Copthorne, states: “I object. Why would we want traveller pitches put on that beautiful piece of land so it can get ruined. Copthorne is a small village and it’s built up enough already. We already have one site.”

A woman from Rustlewood, Crawley, says: “I believe that this will have a severely negative impact on the area, purely because the fields are used by many dog owners and the general public for walks.

“The Old Hollow is a country lane and by this proposal going ahead will cause the country aspect of the environment to diminish significantly.” She said she feared many habitats would be destroyed around Copthorne Road.

A man living at Old Hollow itself added: “The proposal will unduly urbanise the site to the detriment of the rural character of the area by being wholly out of keeping with the surrounding land uses.

“The proposal will also adversely affect trees within the site that help contribute to the rural character of the area.”

No date has yet been set for the planning application to be considered.