PLANNING officials have turned down an application for a private Gypsy site near Darlington on the grounds that there are not enough facilities nearby for the family.

The application for retrospective planning permission to change the use of land at a site off Middleton Road, next to the A66 flyover, on the outskirts of Sadberge sparked a number of objections from residents and the parish council.

The Gypsy family who own the land wanted to live permanently on the site, with two touring caravans and an auxiliary building, so that their children could attend school.

Officers from Darlington Borough Council, acting under delegated planning powers, said the application had broadly complied with national planning rules surrounding gypsy sites, but did not fulfil a key criteria of providing sustainable access to schools, shops and other public services.

In recent years Sadberge has lost its village primary school, a shop and post office and, in the last month, its only regular bus service to Darlington.

A report outlining the reasons for refusing planning permission states: “The proposed development is located beyond the built up confines of Sadberge in an open countryside location.

“There are currently no services located in Sadberge, such as schools, shops or employment opportunities, and no bus service in the village. It is therefore considered that the proposal is in conflict with planning policy which aims to encourage the provision of sites for travelling groups in locations that have appropriate access to local facilities and services.”