Gypsy family given green light to stay on site near Norwich Airport by council

Gypsies who moved onto a paddock next to Norwich Airport without planning permission have been allow

Gypsies who moved onto a paddock next to Norwich Airport without planning permission have been allowed to stay Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

The Hellesdon home of a family of travellers has been safeguarded by councillors, who opted against recommendations to evict them.

Council officers had proposed enforcement action by taken against Thomas Bibby and his family, who live in a caravan pitched on a Gypsy site off Holt Road, close to Norwich Airport.

The recommended action proposed councillors give Mr Bibby and his family 18 months to vacate the site.

However, members of the committee instead voted to allow the Romany Gypsy family to remain on the site - providing a range of conditions are met, including a guarantee that just Mr Bibby and his immediate family live there.

This also extended to ensuring that should the family ever vacate the site, it could no longer be used for this purpose.

The conditions also include ensuring no more than two caravans occupy the site at any one time and a hedge be planted in front of a fence the family had put up

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Bibby questioned suggestions in the officer's report that horses kept on the site had escaped from the site and onto airport land.

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However, Robert Webb, the case officer who prepared the report, told the committee this was 'not a planning matter' - despite it appearing in his report.

Mr Webb also said in his report that concerns had been raised by the airport that litter from the site could blow onto the airfield - however, he noted Mr Bibby had made conscious effort to clear the field on the day of the meeting.

During debate, several members made it clear they would be opposed to taking the full enforcement and it was instead moved to 'under enforce', allowing the family to stay under conditions.

Committee member Mike Sands said: 'Mr Bibby would not want animals escaping, particularly not into the airport, as he would be only too aware of the consequences should that happen.

'I think under enforcement is fine.'

Fellow member Ian Stutely also said he felt the conditions were 'the sensible option'.

Hugo Malik added: 'I believe the European Convention on Human Rights trumps any planning regulation.'