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New Watton horse fair fears

PUBLISHED: 17:30 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:53 02 June 2010

Watton residents have voiced their concerns about a controversial caravan site which they say district councillors refuse to regulate under planning laws.

Watton residents have voiced their concerns about a controversial caravan site which they say district councillors refuse to regulate under planning laws.

The Watton Horse Fair is returning to town at the beginning of May, causing disquiet among residents who fear that scores of caravans would park nearby, producing litter and noise.

Last year they tried to get members of Breckland's overview and scrutiny committee to back plans to control the event, by requiring organisers to apply for planning permission.

But the proposals were dismissed as council officers insisted that the horse fair did not need planning permission as it was a temporary activity, held for less than 28 days.

Watton mayor Keith Gilbert says the council should be prosecuting those who break the law and called on the scrutiny panel to ask organisers to apply for a licence.

“Breckland has refused to implement the law over the years and there are over 50 caravans attending the horse fair which has now extended to several days at any one time,” he said.

A spokesman for Breckland Council said: “I understand, that organisers of the horse fair have been formerly advised, on several occasions, about the legal position. They know that he needs a caravan site licence if he's going to allow caravans to remain overnight on the land during the horse fair events. They also know that without a licence they run the risk of prosecution by Breckland Council. The situation will be monitored around the time of the next fair, which is May 7,” she added.

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