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Enborne Parish Council has appointed Irwin Mitchell LLP to fight showpeople site

A top legal team has been hired to fight plans for a base for travelling showpeople in Enborne.

It means they plan to fight the council in court.

Zippos Circus founder and director Martin Burton
Zippos Circus founder and director Martin Burton

The 15-acre site is up for a decision in the coming months over the scheme submitted by Zippo’s Circus.

Enborne Parish Council has appointed Irwin Mitchell LLP to act on its behalf in opposing the plans.

“This is a very big step for us because we are opposing plans that our district council has put forward,” it said.

“We remain hopeful that our district councillors will represent us in this matter.

“The first step for our legal team is to formulate an objection to the current application and thereafter we will be able to review other legal options to hold our district council to account.

“There are now over 100 local people concerned about this issue.

“Enborne, with the support of our neighbouring Hamstead Marshall Parish Council, will continue to speak up for our community.”

The parish council says the site area was recently increased and now includes land outside the designated area of a planning policy and also includes land where there is ongoing ‘enforcement’ action for previous unlawful development near ancient woodland.

“It should be noted that whilst the application refers to 24 plots, there is no limitation on the level of occupancy or number of caravans on the site,” it says.

In January 2024 Enborne Parish Council began work to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

“As part of our early research we identified proposals by West Berkshire Council to designate approximately 10 acres of land in the parish as a sort of caravan site/yard for travelling showpeople.

“Whilst many people are aware of Zippo’s Circus, the extent of the proposed development on agricultural fields to the north and west of the established yard would substantially change the character of the area and have a harmful impact on neighbour’s amenity, ecology, landscape character, local services and infrastructure.

“There is no proposal to limit or control the number of new residents on the site.

“For comparison, if the development was for conventional housing at a normal density of 30 dwellings per hectare, it would equate to 120 new homes, with potentially hundreds of new residents and associated vehicle movements, etc.

“And under recent revisions to the application to increase the site area to nearly 15 acres, this comparative would increase to 180 new homes.”

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