TRAVELLERS - News Archive
Willow Farm Traveler's site (28-Jan-2012)
To see a copy of the latest letter from RBC about the "progress" on Willow Farm Click here
Willow Farm travellers (24-June-2011)
We have received this letter from Runnymede Borough Council. It all sounds very familiar!
Willow Farm travellers (05-June-2011)
The following is an extract from an email from RBC to a local resident clarifying the situation regarding the Willow Farm Traveller Site.
"To clarify the current situation I can advise that the recent appeal that was successful does not relate directly to the planning situation.
The original appeal (against the refusal for planning permission) on the site was heard by way of public inquiry in October 2009 was dismissed by the Secretary of State, the appellant appealed against that dismissal. That appeal was dismissed by the High Court and the Appellant was not given leave to appeal that dismissal. However, the appellant appealed against the fact that they were not given leave to appeal. That appeal was dismissed by the High Court, the Appellant then has the right to appeal against this to the Court of Appeal, arguing that it should be heard in open court to allow all parties to put forward their arguments. That appeal has been successful.
The situation now is that there will be a hearing with a panel of judges who will decide whether or not the Appellant should be given leave to appeal in the Court of Appeal against the High Court's refusal. The Appellant has not been successful in appealing to allow them to remain on the site. They have been successful in pursuing the right to appeal against the decision of the High Court to refuse them leave to appeal against the dismissal of their challenge against the Secretary of State's dismissal.
I appreciate that this is convoluted but the legal process is complicated. The situation on site is difficult. There is an injunction and the Council sought to enforce that injunction in the High Court in 2009. In the meantime an application had been made for planning permission which the Council had refused, as detailed in the attached letter and the situation remains in the courts as highlighted above. The High Court has paused the Council's application for taking injunctive action pending the outcome of the Public Inquiry into the refusal of planning permission due to be heard that October 2009 and any subsequent appeal.
I can confirm that the Council is monitoring the site for any further breaches of planning control in addition to those covered by the injunction and will seek to deal with the site as a whole once there is a definitive outcome from the legal process. The Council is working within its powers to address the matters. The situation however, is currently within the legal process.
I trust that this sets out the current position regarding the site."
So now you know!
Willow Farm travellers (03-June-2011)
Read the latest in the Surrey Herald here.
Willow Farm travellers (05-May-2011)
Here is a response from Phillip Hammond MP to a letter written by one of our residents.
Willow Farm travellers (21-Apr-2011)
As a result of a letter regarding the current status of this site to Runnymede Borough Council from OPEC, individuals on the estate and other local residents we have received the attached response (click link to open a PDF). If you wish to respond, please do so to the signatory of the letter. One has to ask the question - what was the point of the 2005 court order?!
FARM TRAVELLERS - APPEAL DISMISSED
The recent appeal heard at a public enquiry has been dismissed
Read the appeal decision here
WILLOW FARM TRAVELLERS- 9th September 2009
Some of you will have received this notification about the Willow Farm Planning Appeal. Please note the dates in your diary and make a point of attending, particularly on the first day, even if it is only for a few minutes. It is important that you sign the attendance register. RBC are doing all they can to close the site but still need our support.
POLICE HELICOPTERS AT FAIROAKS - 5th August 2009
Latest news from The Surrey Herald July 29th 2009
WILLOW FARM GYPSIES
Those of you following the Willow Farm saga will not be surprised to know that the gypsies have appealed against the recent planning decision to disallow development of the site. The appeal is not likely to be heard until the end of 2009 or later but if you wish to make representations to the Planning Inspectorate you must do so by 22nd July 2009. OPEC/OPM and Tulk will write on behalf of its members but, as usual, it will be the total number of representations which will be counted. So please write a personal letter. The address to send your letter to can be found on the Neighbour Notification below. If you wish to see the appeal form you can do so at the RBC offices in Addlestone or alternatively I can supply you with a copy.
GYPSIES VANDALISE POLICE HELICOPTER AT FAIROAKS
You may be interested in this news item. Click HERE.
WILLOW FARM GYPSY SITE - THE LATEST- 30th April 2009
A large number
of OPEC members and other local residents attended
a recent Planning Meeting at Runnymede Borough Council offices where the
plan to build a permanent gypsy site at Willow Farm was reviewed. As
no one was entitled to speak on this occasion the attendance of so many people
clearly demonstrated support for our council representatives. Although the
application was rejected we understand that the applicant will appeal against
and there will almost inevitably be another public enquiry so we may
need to call on your support again.
WILLOW FARM GYPSY SITE - 3rd Jan 2009 (updated 29th Jan 2009)
Some residents have received notification of a planning application for a permanent gypsy site at Willow Farm opposite Ottershaw Park.
OPEC will be writing a letter of objection on behalf of all the residents, but please note that it is the total number of letters of objection that count in planning issues not the number of residents represented by a single letter.
So please write your own letter if you wish to object. You may find the points below useful if you wish to object. Please ensure you put your name and address on the letter.
The closing date for objections is 12th January - NOW EXTENDED TO 17th FEBRUARY
For a copy of the notice sent to some residents click HERE
To see the plans click HERE and then scroll down the planning list
For some history on this site see previous news items
Some points of objection:
1 – The inevitable entry to and exit from the site would be prejudicial to highway safety as the existing access to the Chertsey Road was not intended for the proposed use. A caravan site will result in numerous cars and vans as well as large slow moving vehicles pulling into and out of the site. Highway safety was a deciding factor in the rejection of a similar application at Field 8594 on the same road in 2008. The entrance to Willow Farm is even more dangerous being located near to the brow of a steep hill and close to a sharp corner.
2 – The site is an inappropriate development in the Green Belt in terms of visual amenity as there is no effective screening, and the associated level activity.
3 – The site is detrimental to the local environment and an inappropriate development in an otherwise wooded and essentially rural area. Hardcore used to create level pitches for caravans is killing the trees and hedgerows around the site.
4 – The site would have a significant impact on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA).
5 - The site is distant from local facilities with no public transport and no footpath on the side of the road nearest the site.
6 – A previous public enquiry rejected the use of Willow Farm as a gypsy/traveller caravan site. Numerous appeals on behalf of the travellers have also been turned down by the courts and the land has been occupied illegally since about 2002. In these circumstances a further planning application is contrary to any notion of responsible citizenship or common sense.
7 – In my opinion no very special circumstances have been shown to exist which would override the road safety issues, the damage to the local environment, Green Belt policy, or negate the previous legal decisions on this site.
Travellers at Willow Farm - 1st Dec 2008
As there seemed to be no progress in removing the Travellers from Willow Farm the committee has written on several occassions to Runnymede Borough Council CEO, Tim Williams. The replies have been predictably full of waffle with no reports of any postive action. I attach a couple of extracts so that you get the flavour of the correspondence.
1st August 2008
20 October 2008
Travellers at FIELD 8594 - 23rd April 2008
The Decision on the Public Enquiry into an application by Travellers to occupy Field 8594 was announced on April 2nd.
The bottom line is that Travellers will not be allowed to live on the site.
To read the full text click here.
To download a copy of the decision click here.
Thank you to all those of you who attended the enquiry.
Travellers at FIELD 8594 - 7th March 2008
Residents are reminded that the Public enquiry into the application for a traveller site at Field 8594 (between Ottershaw Park and Fairoaks Airport) is due to resume at 9am on 11th March at the address given in the previous item.
PLEASE MAKE THE EFFORT TO ATTEND THE PUBLIC INQUIRY IF ONLY TO SIGN THE ATTENDANCE REGISTER
at FIELD 8594
(field between Ottershaw Park and Fairoaks Airport)
The following letter had been circulated to all OPEC residents.
PLEASE MAKE THE EFFORT TO ATTEND THE PUBLIC INQUIRY IF ONLY TO SIGN THE ATTENDANCE REGISTER
Travellers at Willow Farm - SUMMARY - 14th January 2008
Recently an OPEC resident wrote to Runnymede Borough Council about the gypsies at Willow Farm.
The reply from Paul Druce, RBC's senior solicitor, contained a useful summary of the situation:
Travellers at Willow Farm - 6th December 2007
At the OPEC AGM we were unable to give you up-to-date news on the travellers at Willow Farm. We have since been in touch with Runnmede Borough Council who inform us that they are still considering an appication to the High Court for their eviction as they are in breach of previous injunctions. However, this is unlikely to succeed as government policy appears to be that councils cannot evict travellers while there is no adequate alternative provision. It is therefore likely that as a result the Willow Farm site travellers will get a "stay of execution". Furthermore, the courts are hardly likely to imprison the site owner, Kelly Rooney, for breach of the injunction as she has four small children who the authorities would have to take into care. Consequently, they are likely to get temporary (i.e. several years) permission to stay on the site until an alternative site is identified. As part of the deal we are advised that they will have to tidy up the site - we will see if they do!
THE COMMITTEE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE SITE HAS BEEN THERE FOR A LONG TIME AND THE INITIAL WIDESPREAD REACTION HAS SUBSIDED. IF THE COUNCIL ARE NOT REMINDED THAT THERE IS LOCAL OPPOSITION THERE IS A DANGER THAT OUR COMPLACENCY WILL RESULT IN A PERMANENT SITE. THE COMMITTEE HAVE WRITTEN TO THE COUNCIL TO EXPRESS OUR CONTINUING OPPOSITION TO THE SITE AND WE URGE ALL MEMBERS TO DO LIKEWISE BOTH NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.
Travellers - 7th December 2006
Here is an update on the local travellers. Please contact the relevant Council if you require further information or clarification.
1 - Willow Farm (Runnymede Borough Council - 01932 838383)
The occupants (mainly Rooneys?) are in breach of a High Court ruling that
they should leave the site. RBC are awaiting a date for committal proceedings
at the High Court. This is not likely to be before February. The threat of
committal may make them move away; another possiblity is that the judge may
not send them to prison but ask RBC to find an alternative solution!
New occupants (and their mobile homes) have recently moved onto the site. Consequently, before the committal proceedings RBC will need to modify their application. Apparently the travellers cannot be evicted because they own the land which they are illegally occupying!
2 - Field 8594, Chobham Road (Surrey Heath Borough Council – 01276 707339)
The previous illegal occupants (another branch of the Rooney family) have
lodged an appeal for the site near Fairoaks Airport to be converted into a
gypsy caravan site.
There is a Planning Application Committee meeting on 11th December at 7.00pm which you are entitled to attend, but you may not speak. The Committee will be recommended to indicate that had it been in a position to determine the application it would have been refused. The actual decision
TRAVELLERS - posted 24th August 2005
Follow this link for news on Travellers in Pennypot Lane and Field 8594 (between Ottershaw Park and Fairoaks Airport).
Link to Travellers
Here is the lastest on the local traveller site.
From: Surrey Herald 22nd June 2005
From: Surrey Herald 15th June 2005
Thank you to all those who attended the Willow Farm and Field 8594 public enquiries earlier this year.
We are happy to be able to inform residents that the appeal by the travelers at Willow Farm against enforcement notices issued by Runnymede Borough Council was rejected by the Planning Inspector and that his decision has been upheld by the Secretary of State. It was found that the development would cause harm to the Green Belt, be a risk to highway safety arising from use of the access, and be harmful to the visual amenity of the surrounding countryside. These issues were considered on balance to outweigh the Human Rights of the travelers. The travelers have been given 12 months to vacate the site although the decision may still be subject to an appeal through the High Court!
We are also pleased to report that the decision on the Field 8594 site (near Fairoaks Airport) found against the travelers. We are advised that the appeal period has now expired and that Surrey Heath Council intend enforcing an order to remove the travelers from the site, but this requires a further decision by the High Court and will inevitably take some time. We will keep residents informed of developments. The success of this case was largely because the Inspector found on balance that the site occupiers did not fulfill the definition of “gypsies” as a consequence of which Human Rights issues were regarded as irrelevant.
Although these cases are not fully concluded this these decisions are significant recognition that this type of development is harmful to the wider public interest.
There are of course other traveler sites in the area. There are an estimated 200 travelers at Pennypot Lane, Chobham, where Surrey Heath is currently actively pursuing a case through the courts for the removal of this site. A recent public enquiry found in favour of the traveler site remaining at Walnut Tree Farm, Lyne. In other parts of the country travelers have successfully made their case on the basis of Human Rights legislation.
In addition, the trend towards ownership by travelers of plots typically in Green Belt areas where Planning Permission is unlikely to be granted, but where unwanted land can be relatively cheap, only serves to restrict the ability of local authorities to deal with these cases swiftly.
It should not come as a surprise to you that progress has been slow, but we will continue to advise you of developments and we appreciate the active support of many residents who have attended the Inquiries
If you have any queries on any of the above topics please contact your OPEC representative.