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Holiday lets plans refused

Fighting On - Andrea and Paul Hodgkinson of Matlock are in dispute with the Norwegian government after buying a mountain farm near Telemark.

Fighting On - Andrea and Paul Hodgkinson of Matlock are in dispute with the Norwegian government after buying a mountain farm near Telemark.

The owner of a site earmarked by the council for a Gypsy family said he feels like ‘piggy in the middle’ after an application to for holiday chalets on the land was refused.

An application to build eight holiday chalets on the site at the Woodyard, Homesford, was refused by a planning committee at a Derbyshire Dales District Council meeting after an officer commented that there were too many lodges for the site.

Paul Hodgkinson, who owns the land with his wife Andrea, believes however that the council does not wish the site to be developed as it has been chosen by the authority as its preferred site to house a Gypsy family.

“It’s a farce,” he said. “I feel like piggy in the middle. We are just getting tired of it, we need to get out of here.

“If wooden cabins made from local timber by a local firm are not in keeping then they are living in cloud cookoo land.”

He questioned why the planning officers had not informed the applicant that they believed there were too many chalets in time for him to change the plans.

The district council has stated that complaints made by the Hodgkinsons about the authority were dismissed by the Local Government Ombudsman in August last year as they could find no evidence that the council was at fault.

The council had allocated a temporary site to the Gypsies in Rowsley, which the family left of its own accord after feeling ‘threatened’.

In light of this fact, an investigation is now being carried out to determine whether the authority needs to uphold its statutory obligation to find a home for the Gypsy family.

Mr Hodgkinson said a group of travellers have made repeated offers to buy the site and he is considering the offer.

“We just want to get out,” he said.

To comment on this story visit www.matlockmercury.co.uk

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