To ignore neighbour's letter through my door....

(58 Posts)
HarryandLouLou Wed 07-Aug-13 12:34:19

.....that asks all local residents to object to minor travellers site planning application?

I know gypsies and travellers often get bad press, but I had a look at the planning application on the council website and it's for 2 caravans, 1 static and 1 to be lived in. Whoever applied must own the land as its a request for the land to be used as a place of residence.

The neighbour (who I'm not sure of their identity) is claiming that should this proceed it will "blight our homes and reduce sale prices" etc etc.

From a birds eye view, our street and cul de sac will be their nearest neighbours, but there is no access between the site and our homes.

Aibu or naive?

nennypops Wed 07-Aug-13 12:36:23

YANBU. Live and let live, I say. The application wouldn't be refused on the grounds your neighbour suggests anyway.

Nagoo Wed 07-Aug-13 12:36:50

Ignore. Wait until you are in my situation, I get letters from MPs responding to my objections to planning applications for travellers sites in my Dad's village hmm

eurochick Wed 07-Aug-13 12:37:17

Ignore it if you want to, but I do think you are being a little naive. There was a site near where we used to live. When the travellers moved on, the site was a mess - full of rubbish, builders rubble and all sorts. I'm afraid that based on that experience I would get a bit NIMBY about this.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 07-Aug-13 12:37:40

YANBU neighbour sounds hysterical.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Wed 07-Aug-13 12:38:57

I would ignore any letter from someone who wasn't prepared to sign it tbh.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 07-Aug-13 12:39:05

Euro you can't tar an entire community with one brush. In our village we've long had travellers in and out...they slot in well....some of them send their DC to the school and some don't. They go to the local pub and support local charities just like permanent residents. They come...go and come back again.

Reality Wed 07-Aug-13 12:39:27

I would be concerned, because in my experience two caravans will actually be more like fifteen.

We used to live in a street that backed on to a fairground yard, and when they were in residence they weren't the nicest of neighbours to have. The actual 'Name of Fair' family were lovely, their kids went to school with us for a few months out of the year and we knew them pretty well, but the community of travellers that came with them were antisocial, loud, messy and on occasion violent. And the fuckers used to steal milk off doorsteps and washing off lines.

WorraLiberty Wed 07-Aug-13 12:40:19

2 caravans wont blight your homes

If it grows over time then yes, it probably will.

I'd just ignore it.

SirChenjin Wed 07-Aug-13 12:44:18

I would object - but then I wouldn't want to look out onto 2 static homes, regardless of who lived in them. Our local council turned down a planning app for something similar recently fortunately.

HarryandLouLou Wed 07-Aug-13 12:47:06

I always assumed the land in this area belongs to the local farms. Our road has no direct access, and is at least a 5 minute drive away.

The letter is somewhat hysterical and alarming. There is no clue to whom it is from.

HarryandLouLou Wed 07-Aug-13 12:49:03

None of the houses overlook this area, as the ground is higher and has mature trees, a cycle path and main road between them.

LazyFaire Wed 07-Aug-13 12:53:21

I would probably send in a support letter to counter it. I really dislike they way some people get on their high horse about travellers.

If as you say it actually has no bearing on your street, they can't even see it, they are unlikely to get anywhere with the objection and are basically just being racist.

Live and let live.

It isn't the issue about them being travelers, but another two (more if the static is temporary housing) families living in the available space, with the additional parking of cars etc, that would be the issue for me.

It depends on how close the plot of land is, they do traditionally have dogs, so there is a potential for the noise levels to rise.

Many on MN would object to their next door neighbors building a house in their back garden, or parking a motor home/caravan on the front drive, for the same reasons.

quesadilla Wed 07-Aug-13 12:54:18

Based on what they have specified in the application I wouldn't care. I grant there is a risk of "mission creep" where travellers are concerned and you could end up with 10 or more but then you may not.

Do you know what "travellers" actually means in this context? In my experience it can encompass everything from actual gypsies to Irish travellers to New Age crusties to deep ecology types. All of which are likely to come with different philosophies and lifestyles.

My personal approach is live and let live. Until someone proves themself to be an antisocial menace I work on the basis that they are not. I don't believe you can go through life objecting to a group of people based on what type of dwelling they choose.

But maybe I am naive.

X post with the layout explained.

somewhereaclockisticking Wed 07-Aug-13 12:55:42

If you don't mind then don't object. If you think that there is a possibility it will grow to more than 2 caravans and that this might cause you a problem - then object. I wouldn't even think about the neighbour's wishes but at least they have brought it to your attention and you can now make your choice.

SirChenjin Wed 07-Aug-13 12:55:51

Depends if you believe there will only ever be 2 statics, or if you think the site might grow or if they might have visitors in their caravans throughout the year. If the land belongs to the farmer then you need to be clear that he/she is not planning to extend the planning app at some stage (or maybe not, if it doesn't really bother you)

angelos02 Wed 07-Aug-13 12:57:50

You are very naïve OP.

gollygosh123 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:01:01

Lol lets see what you say in a year or so.

When you experience the reality of living near traveller sites, you'll learn.

Tailtwister Wed 07-Aug-13 13:03:21

I would look into the details very carefully. I don't know if the approval for 2 caravans initially would make it easier to get approval for a much bigger site? It seems strange to me that the application is so small and I would be concerned it was being done to create a 'gateway' for a much larger application.

Planning seems to be a very complicated area and I would always look into an application very carefully if it was going to affect my property, no matter if it were for travellers of not. Just because there's no access between the site and your home now doesn't mean one couldn't be created. The fact is that a large site probably would adversely affect the value of your property.

gollygosh123 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:03:42

And if you think that just because planning is for two then it will only be two, you are extremely naive and i say this as a traveller

stickingattwo Wed 07-Aug-13 13:04:09

I would ignore it - people get so hysterical over travellers.

rockybalboa Wed 07-Aug-13 13:06:47

I'd probably share your neighbours concerns tbh but there's no need to get your knickers in a twist about the letter. No-one can force you to object and if you don't want to then don't. It's a bit like posting saying "AIBU to ignore the pizza leaflet which came through my door and not order a pizza".

conantg Wed 07-Aug-13 13:06:56

Without commenting on the behaviour, good or bad, of the travelling community, I would bet a large sum on the two homes becoming ten or twenty within a year or two. Local authorities do not resist such expansions as it takes the onus off the authority to provide a site.

NoComet Wed 07-Aug-13 13:09:54

One of DDs best friends was a traveler, who did part of the year at her school. She was absolutely lovely.

Our 'settled' caravan' dweller is so little trouble I signed her petition to get left in peace.

After 10 years plus of being no trouble they seem to have money/permission to build a house.

Conversely the travellers who took over the town playing fields and the new age travellers that descended on the Welsh moors were a total menace.

Tailtwister Wed 07-Aug-13 13:13:34

I would think in terms of what would put you off buying a property. People are extremely careful, it's the one of the most expensive purchases the majority make. I know we took a careful look at not only the immediate area, but further afield too. If most people were honest I'm sure they would discount a house nearby a large traveller site and that's bound to affect the value of your house. It's not just how you feel personally, but how any prospective buyers would feel if you ever wanted to sell.

liquidstate Wed 07-Aug-13 13:30:09

I have a travellers site close to me and that was one that expanded. Its an eyesore and the kids are a nuisance. Also equipment including a forklift was stolen from my husbands farm one night. A neighbour saw the forklift being driven into the site and reported it stolen for us but the police did nothing.

I would like to live and let live but in this case I would object.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 07-Aug-13 13:36:50

It's up to you whether you ignore it or not, but you are being naive to assume that you won't end up with problems.

You just don't know unless you have discussed it with the individual travellers. Some are lovely and make a big effort to become part of their community. Some don't and seem to treat anyone who isn't a traveller with contempt and behave very disrespectfully towards the neighbours and the area.

You just don't know what type you will get, so your neighbours concern is valid.

The letter is probably anonymous because its being sent by someone who is fearful of being targeted by travellers if they find out and have a problem with it. And that would be another valid and reasonable concern.

ouryve Wed 07-Aug-13 13:40:19

eurochick - I know people who live in houses who live like you describe. hides piles of bricks and rubble in back garden

PanicMode Wed 07-Aug-13 13:40:49

I have just written a long reply and it's disappeared.

Basically, you are being naive. Perhaps the neighbour doesn't want to put their name for fear of reprisals - the local travellers near my parents have been deemed untouchable by the local police because their children (the police's) have been threatened with being harmed if the police do anything. When planning was applied for, all of the windows in the houses of the objectors were smashed - but the police didn't do anything, not even question them "because there wasn't enough evidence". Expensive farm equipment has gone missing (and been found on their land), they are known to be connected to drug supply in the part of the world where my parents are, and still, nothing is done.

You may be very lucky and end up with model travellers as neighbours because they do exist, but I wouldn't count on it.

Xihha Wed 07-Aug-13 13:41:22

as quesadilla pointed out, It really depends on what they mean by traveller as different groups have different ways of life.

My school had a lot of gypsies in the winter, they were lovely, their site was clean and nice, dogs properly trained etc (I was friends with a couple of them so visited a few times) and the travellers who descend in their boats for river festival and visit the pub i worked in have always been polite and friendly and cleaned up after themselves.

however the group of travellers that decided they were going to take over a field near my mums were an absolute pain in the arse with no respect for anyone or anything, that being said they also didn't bother with planning permission, they just appeared.

Personally as you can't see the site and theres a fair gap between you I would ignore the letter.

Mimishimi Wed 07-Aug-13 13:41:39

YANBU . There might be more on occasion (like family gatherings) but likely as not, it will only be the two vans on the one site. Do have to admit that sometimes it does get dirty outside the vans - this has to do with a concept of the inner area (body, soul, house, car etc) needing to be spotlessly clean but the exterior is not as important. If that's a problem, just ask them nicely if they could clean it up a bit and honestly it won't be minded. Also, big difference in behaviour between Irish travellers and Romanichal - they are not related.

angelos02 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:41:51

YY to everything broken sunglasses said.

Years ago, some travellers moved in near to where I used to live. They were there for about a month. I'd lived there 2 years before, never been burgled. In the 2 weeks the travellers were there, we were burgled twice. Once they'd left, not broken into again. Make of that what you will.

ouryve Wed 07-Aug-13 13:43:11

How do you know the caravans are for travellers, anyhow? They might be intended as somewhere for seasonal workers or guests to stay. The fact that one of the caravans is static doesn't say travellers, to me.

angelos02 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:43:17

few weeks. Not 2 weeks.

whois Wed 07-Aug-13 13:46:21

I think you are being naive. Those that get 'hysterical' often have had direct experience with travellers.

Mogz Wed 07-Aug-13 14:07:32

At the other end of our village is a planned traveller's site, it is only small (maybe 20 dwellings), self contained and is well kept, honestly the messiest and noisiest part about it is the pony they keep tethered on the grass by the road. And he is super cute and loves cuddles so I say live and let live.

MairyHoles Wed 07-Aug-13 14:30:32

I can see both sides really. My former neighbour asked me to object to a planned traveller site next to our rural properties. I didn't want to, as my family were travellers 2 generations ago and I don't think everone can be tarred with the same stick. He pointed out that our houses would be robbed, farm machinery stolen etc. In the end I didn't object as I felt his reasons for wanting to object didn't sit well with me and weren't a concern to me. However, thinking on it, I would have been concerned about the amount of traffic on the narrow single track road where you have to reverse back if you encounter a tractor as a result of 20 more families. It is also a designated cycle route and home to about 4 protected species. There is no mains water or sewage serving our properties and they had not mentioned installing a septic tank. If my neighbour had brought these up I may have supported his objection but as it was I left it. In the end it was rejected anyway. I admit I was also concerned about how they would enforce the amount of caravans there, if more DID appear it can take years to have them removed and I certainly would not have wanted 70 caravans on the small strip of land next door.

Pootles2010 Wed 07-Aug-13 14:45:52

Can definitely also see both sides - travellers, as with all folk, can be decent, or can be awful. I think part of the problem is as they tend to be transient they can be difficult to pin down if they do cause trouble, iyswim?

So locals end up not trusting them, and visa versa, which only aggravates matters. So people end up not knowing any travellers personally, and only notice the trouble makers, and so they end up projecting that to the whole community.

frogwatcher42 Wed 07-Aug-13 14:55:23

It is possible that it is a permanent resident wanting to get planning permission for a new house on green field farming land, but has to get this first as the house wouldn't get permission. Once they have lived in the caravan for a few years they are more likely to get permission for a house.

Or the caravans are for seasonal farm workers?

Two caravans (one of which is static) is not your average travellers site is it? Therefore if my idea above isn't the case, there is the possibility that it becomes a larger site over time and rightly or wrongly, that would no doubt impact on house prices.

WooWooSister Wed 07-Aug-13 15:17:21

Ooh two traveller goading threads on the one day hmm
At the risk of repeating myself, I've worked with travelling communities for over a decade, and they are the same as any other community - there are good and bad in every community. Some of them have dogs but some of them don't hmm . Most of them pay council tax. If they are from the fairground, most of them also pay VAT, tax, etc, as they are small businesses.

The naked bigotry against travellers has escalated so much in recent years that bullying of traveller children in schools in the UK has almost returned to 1960s levels. sad

As someone said upthread there are also lots of different types of travellers. If you read the planning application it might shed light on which type have submitted the application (because it is one of the few (if not the only ) applications where you have to specify your race/ethnic origin/minority group.

You might also find that it isn't travellers. Lots of people who own land in the country apply for permission for a caravan first then apply for planning permisison for a house a few years later.

As for the fact that 2 will become 10, it will only do so if they apply to change a condition of planning. If the planning hasn't changed to allow more caravans to be sited there and more caravans move on then the Council can apply for the others to be removed.

somewheresomehow Wed 07-Aug-13 16:59:49

once planning permission is granted i think you wont have a leg to stand on if they decide to get more caravans on the site at a later date
If the travelers didn't go around the area they pitch up in nicking everything that aint nailed down and creating tons and tons of mess and crap and causing trouble they might be tolerated a bit more

Whothefuckfarted Wed 07-Aug-13 17:19:48

I'd listen to Gollygosh123

Oblomov Wed 07-Aug-13 17:36:19

I too think the Op is very naieve. You will live to regret this. I swear.

TallyGrenshall Wed 07-Aug-13 17:56:19

It's entirely up to you if you want to object or not.

My village has a fairly large site and we are nit a high crime area. When I was growing up, most of the crime committed was by 3 families on my estate not the travellers. A couple of my friends bought some land in a different village and applied for 2 caravans 10 years ago. Theres still only 2 (static) caravens there. They don't let any of their friends or family pull up on their land, they just wanted somewhere pernanent for them.

ilovesooty Wed 07-Aug-13 18:22:09

That's exactly the same sort of application friends of mine put in prior to planning permission for a house. I'd also bin something that was delivered to me unsigned.

ElectricSoftParade Wed 07-Aug-13 18:36:56

Obviously it is up to you if you wish to object although I would be warey of any unsigned letters.

I live near a largeish traveller site and have done for about 9 years. In all that time I haven't had any problems with any of the travellers either around the area or at school.

Other folk claim to have had problems and attributed them to the travellers but I haven't. Some of the women are not very friendly (I think preferring to stick together, particulary at school) which is fair enough. Others are though.

DENMAN03 Wed 07-Aug-13 18:46:49

My sister lived next door to a site that had only one static caravan. It was frequently visited by up to 10 others on a regular basis. They would leave huge amounts of rubbish and the kids would be rude and aggressive if you tried to drive past them on the lane. One night there was a massive fight between them and another gang of travellers! Im not hysterical over travellers but they don't really do themselves any favours. If they would just clean up after themselves it would go a long way to making me feel nicer towards them. Just my experience. Not saying every traveller behaves in this way, although have yet to see any that don't.

When you respond to planning applications, you need to use "planning" reasons. Things like "not within the permitted development area on the village plan", "out of keeping with the conservation area" or "insufficient mains water and sewerage to serve the dwellings". Obviously you need to know local information to be able to come up with planning reasons to support or oppose the plans and the local development plans may well have a section on the provision of sites for travellers. However I very much doubt whether an objection "we don't like these sort of people, you know what they are like, it starts off with 2 caravans and next thing you know there are 10 with feral children and dogs" would actually have any influence, and rightly so.

So you need to think both about whether you want to respond and on what grounds. How would you feel if they put two small houses there? Is this really any different?

MinionDave Wed 07-Aug-13 19:24:08

All travellers are different. There are some that come and live in a carpark near my work once a year and cause all kind of havoc, breaking car windows, thieving from the nearby nursery and leaving the place like a rubbish tip.

On the other hand, there is a traveller site in my town and they seem really nice. Their kids go to my kids school, and they don't cause any problems at all.

You just can't tar them all with the same brush.

MidniteScribbler Thu 08-Aug-13 02:18:52

I don't have any experience with travellers so can't comment on them, but I wouldn't like caravans on a vacant block near me, unless they were using it temporarily and a permanent home was being built within a certain time frame.

KatieHalfPrice Thu 08-Aug-13 02:32:22

I have extensive experience of planning applications for a traveller sites. Planning applications can only be turned down on planning grounds. I've known sites get approved with upwards of 500 local objections because 'not in my back yard' is not a reason to decline planning.

Mimishimi Thu 08-Aug-13 03:14:24

My parents applied to live in a van for up to a year or so whilst they saved up to build a house on a block of land they purchased when we were little. As it is, they sold that land to buy an established house further away. Why does it bother people if others live in a van ? I can completely understand being bothered by overcrowding and mess but I really don't see what the actual issue with just a van is. Lots of homeowners who are non-travellers have messy front yards with scrap cars and the like.

JessieMcJessie Thu 08-Aug-13 07:02:52

How do you know it is for travellers? Farm near me uses statics for seasonal workers.

I would object too...from personal experience

HarryandLouLou Thu 08-Aug-13 08:11:02

Thanks for all the replies.

I've checked the application again, and it states "one gypsy family."

I have no concerns if this is the case but not so sure if it turns out to be a larger site in time.

However, as KatieHalfPrice says, it's not so simple to dispute on grounds that are not of a planning nature.

I'll see how things go in due course.

MrsWolowitz Thu 08-Aug-13 08:20:10

I think you are being a little naive.

You do sound very nice though.

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