Wed, 17 Oct 2018
A RESIDENTS’ group has so far spent £27,000 fighting a planning application for a travellers’ site near Culhams Mill, Silchester – and it estimates a further £50,000 may be needed.
The Calleva Society was set up in a bid to prevent the plans – for a permanent traveller site comprising 13 plots, each with a touring caravan, static caravan and a day room – from being approved.
The proposals were submitted to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in February 2017.
On the same day, work had started on the site.
The borough council imposed an injunction preventing any tree-felling or building materials being taken on to the site, which was upheld by the High Court in December 2017.
As Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council did not make a decision on whether to approve or refuse the original planning application within the statutory period, the application has now gone to appeal.
The Calleva Society has been granted Rule 6 party participation, which means it can be involved in the appeal process on equal footing with Basingstoke and Deane’s planning department and the applicants.
The group will have full access to the evidence and will be providing its own evidence and calling witnesses.
At the Silchester Parish Council meeting on Monday, October 1, chairman Simon Mahaffey confirmed that three witnesses would be called – himself as the chairman representing residents of Silchester, a resident who can speak on biodiversity issues, a highways expert or a representative of Speed Watch.
Mr Mahaffey said: “The Calleva Society are very short of cash and can’t afford the consultant or advocates.
“We have totted it up and it will cost £30,000 to £50,000.”
The appeal will be heard in Basingstoke and Deane civic offices on December 4 and is expected to last for eight days.
It is estimated that an advocate would cost £16,000 for the eight-day appeal, £6,000 for highways experts and £10,000 for planning as a base-line estimate, bringing the total to as much as £50,000.
The Calleva Society has already spent £27,000 on the campaign, with £15,000 going on legal advice, £11,000 on a planning consultant and £1,000 on expenses.
All money raised and spent so far was donated by residents of Silchester and the Calleva Society is appealing for more donations.
The proposed traveller site received a number of objections.
More than 60 members of the public attended an emergency meeting in August 2017 and more than 250 letters of objection and 250 comments were received about the proposals.
To donate to the Calleva Society and its fight against the planning application, contact Steve Spillane by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org