Proposals to extend an existing gypsy and traveller caravan site to provide additional accommodation in East Huntspill have been approved.

The extra space will consist of two mobile homes, three touring caravan pitches and the erection of a new utility block and associated works at 2 Little Orchard in Withy Road, East Huntspill.

A council report on the application states: “This is an application for an extension to an existing now established gypsy site at 2 Little Orchard, Withy Road, East Huntspill.”

“The existing gypsy site was allowed on appeal and this site was then set up as a separate plot next to it. The site is fenced off and appears as a separate plot to the existing plot but does share the same access.”

“Two mobile homes and three tourers are proposed, also a utility block. The mobiles are to be sited behind an existing 4 metre high hedge and ditch and cannot be readily viewed from Withy Road. The utility block is to be sited to the north of the plot behind a two metre high close boarded fence. A grassed paddock lies to the north of the plot.”

East Huntspill Parish Council had objected to the scheme. “It has a visual and economic impact on local neighbours,” it said. “This site is unsuitable for residential caravans, it should not have increased numbers of units on the site.”

“The proposal is in flood risk zone 3 and is contrary to policy S4 of the SDC Core Strategy. The access is also inadequate it is on a double blind bend, on an unrestricted road and it is considered to be a danger to traffic and pedestrians.”

Two letters of objection were also received from local residents, citing that the site “is large enough and any further extensions will only mean more families, more noise and more traffic on a dangerous double blind bend.”

But Sedgemoor planners have approved the scheme this week, with conditions.

The case officer said: “The site is surrounded by hedgerow and only the top windows of a neighbouring property can readily view the site and that is through tree cover of sorts. It is not agreed that the site has an undue visual impact. If the use of the land has decreased the value of neighbouring property this is hardly quantifiable and in any case is not a planning issue.”

“The site (as a whole including ‘plot one’) will have a net increase of just one static mobile which is not harmful and will count for meeting our targets set by the GTAA (Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment).”

“The flooding issues were addressed at the previous appeal by the Inspector and cannot be revisited or resurrected at this point. It is duly noted that the Environment Agency maintain an objection despite the previous appeal and this should be balanced against the recognised need for gypsy sites in Sedgemoor. It should also be noted that the applicants are relying on a flood risk assessment which was produced for the appeal on the neighbouring plot which was agreed with by the relevant Inspector. The balance falls in favour of granting consent.”