A planning application to create a single traveller pitch in an Orpington field has received more than 500 objections in just ten days.

The plans, submitted in April, would allow space for one mobile home, one touring caravan, the erection of a dayroom and the formation of new access to the site off Shire Lane.

The land is on the Green Belt but does not lie within an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’, or any other valued landscape, so is not automatically protected, according to the application. 

Shire Lane

Shire Lane

Since May 1, the application has received more than 500 objections.

Many objections express concerns about the over-development of Green Belt land.

Mr G Harris, of West Wickham, said: “Need to save our local nature.

“This would not be approved for standard residential dwelling and if approved, I assume this would set a precedent for such applications.

“Areas of countryside such as this need to be preserved.”

Other objections express a general dislike of the traveller community.

Mrs Nicky Forsyth, of Orpington, said: “Why after spending all that money in Green St Green to stop travellers would we then kick the problem a mile up the road?

“They are not good for the community and this land is better served for other uses. Have we not learnt enough from Star Lane?

“I am not sure what Bromley council are up to but seem intent in ruining Orpington with plans for high rises in the High St and now a gypsy site.

“Back handers I wonder from inner London to take their dross?”

One of the only supportive comments argues the family has a right to make reasonable use of their land. 

Mr Daniel Iacomi, of Orpington, said: “Reading through the objections, I can't help but see prejudice towards this traveller group.

“I can't find any reason for objection as to why this family should not be allowed to live on their own plot of land.

“I have personally been to the area, spoke with the family and been positively impressed by the fact they cleaned the excessive amount of rubbish left behind by other people.

“The entrance to the site was full of rubbish (about three old fridges, bags of rubbish and other appliances thrown in there, which I personally witnessed for at least one year before, each time I have had a walk in the area).

“Nobody, but this family took the time and responsibility of cleaning and tidying up the site.

“The planning application with the green fence around the site, would blend perfectly in the Green Belt and I am positive the family will continue to take great care of the land and will not disturb anyone who wishes to enjoy the beauty of nature.”

The application argues that the development is modest, and the personal need of the applicant’s family outweighs concerns about Green Belt development.

The family are unable to relocate to a council site due to “conflicts which may arise as a result of past vendettas.”

The supporting document states that a “refusal of this application would under no circumstances be in the best interests of the children,” arguing that there are no alternative sites.

Bromley Council manages two traveller sites in the borough, Star Lane and Old Maidstone Road.

Star Lane was raided by hundreds of police officers in a dramatic operation last September.

Police seized a shotgun and more than £100,000 in cash, making multiple arrests.