‘We were duped into buying traveller’s site’

Wing Caravan Site, Cublington Road, Wing

Wing Caravan Site, Cublington Road, Wing

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A mobile homes company says it has been duped into buying a travellers’ site – which it is fighting to convert into a retirement park.

Wyldecrest Parks spent £220,000 to purchase the site off Cublington Road, Wing, which for the last 38 years has been used as a seven pitch travellers’ site.

However the company has claimed that when it bought the site from Bucks County Council the authority failed to mention that new planning permissions would need to be given.

Now Wyldecrest’s plans hang in the balance after Aylesbury Vale District Council planning officers recommended that the proposal should be rejected- citing that it would “cause harm to the character and appearance of the open countryside”.

A recommendation statement also infers that AVDC should hold the site back for its former use as “the council has an unmet need overall within the district and this site has history of being used for gypsies and travellers.”

Wyldecrest Parks estates director David Sunderland said the recommendation is “nonsense” and that without planning consent the site is worth just £20,000.

He said: “When we came to the site it was a scrap dump, we cleared it and spent about £100,000 on works.

“We were then told we would need planning permission, but we were already under the impression that there was planning permission for a mobile park as it was sold at that price.

“I believed that the only reason they were pushing for a planning application was so that they could impose restrictions, so we went ahead with it.

“We thought that it would be a formality but there seems to be a motivation within the council to refuse this.”

Wyldecrest plans to turn the 1.09 hectare site into a park for the retired, with eight plots for premium mobile homes.

If agreed the proposal would see the construction of concrete platforms for the mobile homes, while a lake would be created at the centre of the site.

A document submitted with the application suggests that the creation of the retirement complex would “forever remove the fear of the site ever returning to its former use and the misery endured by the local community wreaked upon by its occupants.”

It adds that Bucks County Council “must surely accept some moral responsibility for the actions” of its previous tenants.

It states: “For years the inhabitance of surrounding villages lived in fear of vandalism, intimidation, theft and violence, culminating in April 2009 when the site was totally vandalised, provoking the county to sell the site.

“What reasonably minded person would condemn the local community to another sentence of unrestrained vandalism, intimidation, theft and violence, when a potentially less harmful alternative use is available within current policies.”

John Perry, senior legal assistant at Bucks County Council said: “The buyer instructed solicitors to represent them in this matter.

“The planning authority is AVDC.

“The buyer and their solicitors had every opportunity to raise enquiries with AVDC about the planning before the matter was completed but they appear not to have done so.”

The application will be decided by AVDC councillors tomorrow (Thursday).