RETROSPECTIVE plans for a caravan site submitted for one Traveller family have angered residents in a Hampshire village.

Bramdean locals have objected to the application for a mobile home and utility unit at Moody’s Meadow in Petersfield Road. 

Applicant Aryton Mills bypassed getting initial permission to replace the old stable block in the protected South Downs National Park.

Mr Mills bought the land in 2020 and did work on the site before crane lifting in a large caravan one morning around Easter. He now lives there with his wife and children.

Residents, Bramdean and Hinton Ampner Parish Council and charity Friends of the South Downs have highlighted that the application does not meet the local plan, has flooding issues and puts safe vehicle and pedestrian access at risk.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Moody's Meadow plansMoody's Meadow plans (Image: South Downs National Park planning portal)

Winchester City Councillor, Neil Bolton, who lives nearby, said: “Without getting planning permission in advance he replaced an old stable block with a caravan. Enforcement officers asked him to stop and put in a planning application. Everybody woke up with that appearing and without planning permission.

“He has not complied with the social norms of developing a property, particularly on agricultural land in the middle of South Downs National Park. That is not right. There are rules and regulations.

“To his credit, Mr Mills came to a parish council meeting and made a statement about how they could not get the finance to buy a house and so have gone down this route. He explained why he had done what he had done. They want to live here. His kids go to Upham school. But it doesn’t explain why he felt the need to do what he did rather than going by the rules like everyone else.”

“The parish council meeting was a little tense. There were well over 30 people there. The whole village is incredibly angry about it. Some are concerned this could be the thin end of the wedge.

“Mr Mills says he wants the site just for him and his family but who knows? There is no identified need in the Local Plan for Gypsy or caravan sites within the Winchester area of the national park.”

Cllr Bolton also emphasised that the field is in a high-risk flood area close to a feeder stream for the River Itchen. He said: “A caravan in this spot is highly vulnerable.”

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Mr Mills’ agent, Robert Home argued that the family needs a settled base. Dr Home, a town planner, said: “Until this July they stayed in a mobile home on a waste transfer station site owned by his father in Botley but, following the recent grant of planning permission to reorganize that site, they have had to leave, and have no other settled place to stay so will be homeless and requiring accommodation if this application is unsuccessful.

Dr Home believes Mr Mills has improved the condition of the site, replacing the “dilapidated structures” with better stabling, domestic storage and utilities.

Lisa Gordon, who lives in the property opposite, objected to the application over the “excessive development”, diminution of property value, impact of village character and loss of privacy.

Her objection states: “I have several concerns regarding the potential negative impacts of the proposed development on the local area and its inhabitants, including myself.

“The proposed development would adversely affect the intrinsic character of the village. The introduction of a traveller's site could result in increased traffic, noise, light pollution, and other disturbances, which are incongruent with the prevailing peaceful and rural nature of the area.

“If permission is granted and the site is not returned to its original state then this sets a precedent by Winchester Planning to allow others to do the same and carry out building projects outside the restrictions of the SDNP.”

The Friends of the South Downs charity reinforced that the development disrupts the village’s character. The charity’s objection read: “We hardly need to point out that it is retrospective. The development work has been carried out. No visualisation is necessary. You can see at a glance just how out of keeping it is with its location.”

Meanwhile, Bramdean and Hinton Ampner Parish Council argued that the proposal is unnecessary for the Traveller community and fails to conserve the landscape, natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the national park.

The application (SDNP/23/03545/FUL) has a determination deadline of Monday, November 13.