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New traveller row after landowner clashes with council
AN angry landowner has threatened to sell his land to travellers after a row with planning chiefs.
Residents living near the ten-acre site in Southend Road, Fobbing, which borders the Five Bells roundabout in Vange, fear the site could become the next Dale Farm if 79-year-old Denis O’Callaghan is forced to put the land on the market.
Developer, Mr O’Callaghan, has owned the land - which just falls within the Thurrock Council boundary - for the last eight years.
He recently applied to the council to demolish a derelict house which burnt down some years ago and build a bungalow on the site.
But the council said it would only grant planning permission for the bungalow if he bulldozed a different building on the site, which is used for storage and is in good working order.
After receiving advice from architects and surveyors, Mr O’Callaghan submitted an application to the council to keep the storage building - which could be rented out to businesses - knock down the burnt down remains, and build a replacement home next to it.
The council refused his application on the grounds that it would be an “intrusion on the green belt”.
To make matters worse, planning officers also said the footprint, or area the new home would take up is too big, even though the measurements they quoted in their refusal are wrong.
Mr O’Callaghan said: “I’ve been dealing with planning applications of my own for 50-years and I’ve never heard of anything so stupid in my life.
“All I want to do is pull down a building that is burnt out, derelict and dangerous and replace it with a smaller bungalow on the patch of land right next door to it.
“Why do they want me to pull down a building that is already there and has nothing wrong with it and can be used by a business, instead of pulling down a burnt out shell. Shouldn’t the council be promoting something that could support a business?”
Mr O’Callaghan said he refused to shell out even more cash to appeal the council’s decision and unless officers explained the discrepancy in measurements , he would sell the land to the highest bidders after receiving offers from travellers.
He added: “I don’t want to sell my land to travellers, I don’t want to do that to the residents.
“Not one single resident has objected to my proposals. The council are just idiots, but I’m a businessman and I have a great big piece of land that I can’t do anything with.”
Mr O’Callaghan, who has put up for sale signs outside the farm, said he had already been inundated with offers from travellers to buy the land.
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