A bid to create a pitch for travellers’ caravans in rural Herefordshire has been refused for a second time.

An application resubmitted last summer by Mrs Janie Williams and her husband sought permission for one static and one touring caravan, along with a “utility/day room”, on farmland off the A417 south of Maund Bryan.

Their earlier application of February 2020 was refused on grounds of “insufficient evidence of traveller status”, an “unsustainable” location in open countryside, its potential impact on river Lugg catchment, and the site’s risk of flooding given its position by a brook which joins the Lugg at Bodenham.

The new bid presented evidence of the applicants’ “nomadic life”, and moved the area of habitation and the proposed drainage mound to a less flood-prone part of the site.


Pre-application from council planning officer Sam Henton is quoted in the application as saying that while he could not guarantee approval, “We cannot see any reason why the application would fail if the issue is from the previous application are properly addressed.”

In October 2019, Herefordshire Council adopted a “travellers’ sites development plan” to address the supply of suitable sites. But halfway through its five-year period, “very few, if any, of the [promised] 19 additional pitches are available”, the application said.

It claimed there had been a “disastrous loss of travellers’ pitches” following the establishment of a separate unitary Herefordshire Council in 1998, “due to indifference and incompetence”.

The council’s “past failures towards the gypsy and traveller population must be a significant consideration in any private planning application”, it said.

But Bodenham Parish Council objected, considering the application to be “substantially the same” as the previous one, and highlighting what it saw as the continued “serious risk” of flooding.

Planning officer Ollie Jones concluded that the couple did indeed “meet the definition of gypsies and travellers”.

But on his recommendation, development manager Andrew Banks rejected their application on grounds of its potential impact on the river Lugg special area of conservation, and on lack of evidence it would not cause foul water flooding, or impact on protected species around the river system, particularly otters.