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Gypsy couple facing enforcement action for second time

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 10 May 2019

Thomas Bibby and his partner at their site on Holt Road, near Norwich Airport. Photo: Archant

Thomas Bibby and his partner at their site on Holt Road, near Norwich Airport. Photo: Archant

Archant

Gypsies who are facing enforcement action for a second time claim they have not breached council-imposed conditions for their site near Norwich Airport.

Caravans on a site near the airport off Holt Road Copyright: Archant 2019Caravans on a site near the airport off Holt Road Copyright: Archant 2019

Thomas Bibby's home on Holt Road was initially safeguarded by city councillors in October after they opted against recommendations to evict him from the land.

The 37-year-old was living in a caravan on the site with his partner at the time.

But seven months on, Norwich City Council is to reconsider its decision due to "activities" which have since taken place.

The council imposed a condition last year that only two caravans can be stationed on the land, but Mr Bibby currently has three.

The site near Norwich Aiport pictured in 2018. Photo: Luke PowellThe site near Norwich Aiport pictured in 2018. Photo: Luke Powell

However, he said he is in the process of removing one of the two existing static caravans.

Mr Bibby said: "The main reason we want to be here is because when she [partner] has a baby, we want our children to be put into school so they can get an education."

He said there was no intention for the site to become another "Dale Farm", a plot of land in Essex which was at one point home to more than 1,000 Travellers.

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Mr Bibby said the removal of the second static caravan could take six weeks, as he was relying on another person to take it away.

On Thursday (May 9) the city council's planning committee requested that the original enforcement case be brought back for discussion in June.

A council spokesman said this was so the committee could reconsider the decision they made in October "in light of activities on the site since then".

The council spokesman did not specify what those activities were.

In October 2018, council officers had recommended that Mr Bibby and his partner were given 18 months to vacate the site.

But planning committee members instead voted to allow the Romany Gypsy couple to remain in place, provided that only Mr Bibby's immediate family live there.

It was noted during the meeting that Mr Bibby's situation was a "unique case" as there were no other sites available for his family.

He has two of his own children who stay regularly, but live with their mother so they can attend school.

Conditions imposed on the site state the residential area must be moved closer towards Holt Road.

Mr Bibby said his touring caravan was kept to the rear of the site - further away from Holt Road - to prevent it from being stolen.

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