THE Government is set to probe a controversial planning application which sought to legalise a traveller site in Grays.

The Birch family moved to land at the end of Malvern Road, Grays over Easter last year, causing plenty of tension between travellers and residents.

In October last year, a planning application to make the site permanent and legal was rejected by Thurrock Council's planning committee.

The Birch family have lodged an appeal which is currently being looked into by the planning inspectorate.

Conservative Little Thurrock Rectory councillor Rob Gledhill, who called for the enquiry, said: "Considering the amount of problems this application has caused, I think it is more than appropriate to call for a public enquiry.

"This will allow witnesses to have the opportunity to speak and outline how the unauthorised site has and is affecting them."

He added: "The occupiers of the site are still cutting down trees and continue to disrupt community life in a way that suggests they refuse to accept they are entitled to settle on the site. I hope this public enquiry will give residents an opportunity to see this saga come to an end."

Accusations of hate comments and anti-social behaviour have been banded about by both groups since the family moved to the site.

But police have not charged anyone following investigations into the allegations.