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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Village opposes Gypsy site plans
Gypsy generic picture
The owner wants to increase the land's value with a Gypsy site
Residents of a Kent village are opposing a property developer's plans to open one of the UK's first privately owned sites for Gypsies and travellers.

Sevenoaks District Council has turned down plans for a 25-pitch site on the 13-acre field in Crockenhill but a public inquiry is to be held next year.

If his first plan fails, owner Ray Mullins has an alternative scheme to site 200 mobile homes on the land.

Hundreds of residents are expected to attend a public meeting next week.

If this scheme was allowed it would mean the end of Crockenhill as a village in its own right
John Carter

Mr Mullins, from Orpington, bought the green belt land last year.

"I would like to get planning permission on it for something - simply to increase the value and earn a profit like any other developer," he said.

He does not believe the fact that the land is in the green belt is an insurmountable problem.

"If you can show very special circumstances that can be enough to override the green belt policy," he said.

Three hundred people attended a previous meeting in the village to voice their objections.

Sylvia Carter, who lives next to the field, said the local infrastructure could not cope with a new influx of residents.

Schools were full and doctors' surgeries could not accept any more patients, she said.

"The green belt is a natural boundary between Crockenhill and Swanley," said her husband, John.

"If this scheme was allowed it would mean the end of Crockenhill as a village in its own right."

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