A traveller family has won permission to stay on a previously unauthorised pitch after councillors agreed to the permanent change of use of the site.

Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee said the Dorans should be allowed to remain on their pitch in Welshampton, despite objections from the parish council, local councillor Brian Williams and 19 members of the public.

It is three years since James and Barbara Doran moved on to the former pony paddock with their young family, but a previous application for permanent permission was rejected and a temporary one-year permission expired in December.

However the committee heard that the family’s personal circumstances, particularly the education and health needs of the four children, were now considered to outweigh the previous reasons for refusal.

The site will include a static caravan, a touring caravan and an amenity block providing a day room, kitchen and bathroom. The family’s planning agent Trevor Mennell told councillors that they intended on improving the facilities at the site if permanent permission was granted.

Mr Mennell said: “The family have now been on site within the village for some three years, and in that time have made friends with the locals and the immediate neighbours.


“James is hard-working and just wants a normal, settled life for him and his wife and four children – mainly providing his children with the opportunity of proper health and education which James and Barbara were never afforded.

“It has been established that there is an absence of alternative sites, while the personal circumstances of the Doran family weigh heavily in favour of allowing a settled base for them.”

Councillor Williams and Welshampton and Lyneal Parish Council chairman Michael Dinsdale also addressed the committee.

Councillor Dinsdale said the community was “angered and dismayed” that officers had recommended approval of the application, which he claimed was contrary to policies about preventing development in the open countryside and was no different to the previously refused application.

Councillor Williams questioned why the family could not be moved to the council-run traveller site in Craven Arms.

He added: “This does set a precedent, and if any of you have a spare field in your division, be aware that this site, if given permission, will be quoted as a precedent.”

Planning officers said there were currently no other sites in the county with available pitches that the family could be moved to, with the nearest one at Park Hall having a waiting list.

Councillor Geoff Elner said it was not clear what had changed since the previous application but added: “I do think this family need somewhere to live.

“They are part of the community and have a right to be part of that community.”

Officers confirmed the family’s personal circumstances had changed, and a separate appeal decision issued over a similar site near Whitchurch meant the council would no longer be able to claim the site was too far away from a settlement.

Councillor Mike Isherwood proposed approval of the application.

Councillor Vince Hunt said: “I am quite happy to second this and wish the family all the best.”

The committee voted to grant permanent permission for the change of use of the site, with nine for and two abstentions.