Yate dairy farm will be used as travellers' site
PLANNING permission has been given for a dairy farm at Yate to be used as a travellers' site, despite a legal battle.
South Gloucestershire councillors had refused to give consent in January last year for 12 pitches and a utility room as well as two transit pitches and a site manager's office in open countryside at Leechpool Dairy Farm off Tanhouse Lane.
The applicants, Shannon Parks, appealed against the decision which led to a public inquiry before planning inspector Elizabeth Fieldhouse in October.
She has now published her findings which upholds the appeal and grants planning permission.
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Councillors had decided overwhelmingly against the scheme because they believed it would create too much traffic on a narrow lane which forms part of the Avon Cycleway and widely used by cyclists, horse riders and ramblers.
They said the scheme would also have a negative impact on nearby residents and expressed fears of flooding due to inadequate drainage.
More than 460 comments were submitted to the council against the scheme and both Rangeworthy and Yate parish councils objected.
But the council's planning officers argued that not enough new pitches were being provided in South Gloucestershire.
In her decision, Ms Fieldhouse says: "The site is within an attractive rural area but not within any particularly sensitive or protected landscapes.
"The proposal would result in new buildings and structures in the countryside.
"However, in the largely agricultural working landscape close to agricultural functional buildings in an area enclosed by substantial hedging, the visual impact would be limited.
"In addition, the existing hedges could be strengthened and new planting undertaken within the site to further reduce the overall visual impact."
She said noise and general disturbance would "change the current situation" but was "unlikely to unacceptably prejudice the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers".
She took into account the fact that there was an outstanding need for more travellers' pitches in South Gloucestershire.
By 2016, the council will need an extra 62 residential pitches and 21 transit pitches to meet demand.
Ms Fieldhouse sets out a number of conditions which are attached to the planning consent.
These include a ban on commercial activities on the site; the size of the vehicles using the site must be restricted and an external lighting should be agreed.