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A row is growing over a Romany Gypsy family, which has illegally set up home in open countryside, seeking permission to stay there permanently because life on the official traveller site is ‘intolerable.’

Despite strong local opposition from dozens of residents, council planning officials are recommending that Oathie Sykes and his extended family group, which includes 11 children, be allowed to stay permanently in the picturesque rural spot.

If councillors give the go ahead at today’s planning meeting they are certain to provoke fury as many local residents are vehemently opposed to the travellers staying there.

Some of the family previously lived at an official council traveller site at Tara Park in Malton, North Yorkshire.

A report to councillors revealed that there was space at that site for them but the family is ‘not currently eligible’ to live there as they keep chickens and livestock is banned.

Romany Gypsy family which illegally set up home in open countryside launches bid to stay there permanently after claiming life on official traveller site is ‘intolerable’

Tara Park traveller site in Malton, North Yorkshire has room for Oathie Sykes and his seven caravans but he described the area as ‘intolerable’

His family has illegally set up home in open countryside after rejecting life on the official traveller site

His family has illegally set up home in open countryside after rejecting life on the official traveller site

Despite strong local opposition from dozens of residents, council planning officials are recommending that Mr Sykes and his extended family group be allowed to stay permanently

Despite strong local opposition from dozens of residents, council planning officials are recommending that Mr Sykes and his extended family group be allowed to stay permanently

In addition, some family members ‘have not found the experience of living at the site suitable and acceptable to them or conducive to their well-being.’ This was due to ‘anti-social behaviour’ by other residents.

The planning application to North Yorkshire Council for change of use of land stated in relation to Tara Park: ‘There is apparently no control of fly-tipping, raves, loud music playing, rat infestation and intolerable mixed tenants with threats of violence and total disregard of the Covid-19 regulations.’

The family has also applied to run a dog breeding business in a nearby former agricultural building and this was given as another reason for needing to live at the rural site near Sheriff Hutton.

Mr and Mrs Sykes are living in the countryside spot with their three older children and their own families.

Documents state the group’s 11 children all need healthcare and stability in schooling and that it has found difficulty in registering with doctors due to the lack of a permanent address.

The Sykes family already have seven caravans at the site. The family has now applied for consent to set up four pitches, each with a static caravan, space for a touring caravan and parking. It also wants to erect an ‘amenity building’ to include a day room, kitchen, dining facilities, bathroom, shower facilities and laundry.

But the Gypsy family is clearly very unwelcome in the area. A total of 76 objections were sent to the council.

Sheriff Hutton Parish Council argued the proposal would be ‘inappropriate development of the open countryside.’

The family blamed 'anti social behaviour' of other residents for not wanting to live at the traveller site (pictured)

The family blamed ‘anti social behaviour’ of other residents for not wanting to live at the traveller site (pictured)

The family has also applied to run a dog breeding business in a nearby former agricultural building

The family has also applied to run a dog breeding business in a nearby former agricultural building 

Sheriff Hutton Parish Council argued the proposal would be 'inappropriate development of the open countryside'

Sheriff Hutton Parish Council argued the proposal would be ‘inappropriate development of the open countryside’

Public comments included Hannah Nelson who said it would be a ‘blight on the landscape’, Matthew Willgoss commented the caravans were an ‘eyesore’ and the family disturbed the ‘peace and quiet’ of the area and Simon Adamson-Mullins said the lives of friends who live in a neighbouring property would be ruined.

Another resident said the local school ‘would struggle to provide appropriate support for the children of the travellers.’

While Geoffrey Nield pointed out that the ‘integrity of the whole planning process’ would be at risk if the family was allowed to stay as it had moved in and developed the site without permission.

The planning officer’s report stated the need to take into account human rights legislation, the fact that Romany Gypsies are protected under the Equality Act 2010 and the need to consider the ‘best interests’ of children.

She concluded the scheme ‘would have a harmful impact on the character and appearance of the landscape’ but would ‘not result in unacceptable harm’ to neighbours.

It would also contribute to the need to provide pitches to travellers in the area and that ‘personal circumstances’ of the family were a significant factor.

She recommended conditions that no more than eight caravans should be allowed on the site and planning consent would cease if the family moved away.



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