Traveller sites set for approval

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TWO traveller sites could become a permanent part of a village.

Separate applications have been put in for the plots in Shotton Colliery, seeking permission for families to live on the land.

One is for a caravan site on Lake Lane, off Moore Terrace, where a family say they have lived since August 2007.

The second is a resubmission for a change of use, from land to a gypsy and traveller site, west of Salters Lane.

The application for Lake Lane is being made retrospectively.

Three caravans, portable toilets and external water supplies are already on the land, with Durham County Council’s officers seeking the permission to “regularise” the site.

After consultation, two letters about the application have been sent to planning officers.

One asked whether drainage on the land was sufficient and the other questioned how the applicants will keep the area clean and free of flytipping, which has been an issue.

The site in question is not in the green belt, although it is in open countryside. It is next to an existing site, which means it is not out of context with the surrounding area.

The resubmission for Salters Lane details how a family is seeking permission for a mobile home and a caravan. No residents have commented on the plan, but county councillor for the village, Robin Todd, has said it could have an impact on the nearby already-approved 175-home Persimmon development.

Reports into the proposals state there is no spare capacity at public sites, the rate of turnover is “generally low” and there is a need for more – a total of 60 across the council area.

There are no current plans for new authority sites and a plan regarding allocation is not expected until 2014.

Both planning applications are recommended for approval at the council’s Central and East Durham Planning Committee on Tuesday.

Twitter: @echoeastdurham