A GROUP of Henley residents kept a 24-hour watch over a plot of land on bank holiday weekend to make sure gipsies did not move on to it.
They took it in turns to watch Buckley Green on the northern edge of town, a 12.5-acre site which has recently been bought by an allotment company.
With no sign of any travellers, fears in the town have moved on, and residents are now worried that the allotments project is a front for future unwanted development in the green belt.
But Allotment Plots Ltd say all they’re doing is selling the freehold to small parcels of land.
Stacey Morgan, who lives near the site, said: “At times over the bank holiday there were people actually there at the gates, at other times there were people driving past or walking past every half-hour or hour.”
At a meeting of Henley Parish Council, Andy Harris, from Allotment Plots, told a packed audience that the company had bought the site to develop it as a commercial venture.
He told the Herald yesterday (Wednesday) “I don’t know what more we can do to tell people we are a legitimate business.”
But residents are sceptical over the company’s motives because although Allotment Plots Ltd say their plots will be leisure gardens with day cabins on them, Stratford District Council has received no planning applications of this type for Buckley Green.
The council has also stopped contractors from building a road on the site because they had not applied for permission.
Mr Morgan said: “The fact is on their website they are trying to sell something they haven’t got planning permission for.”
But Mr Harris said all the company was doing was selling “free unencumbered parcels of land.”
“There’s an easy way to stop any development and that’s to buy a parcel of land and not be part of any development scheme,” he said.
During last week’s parish council meeting, the chairman, Cllr Roger Hubbocks, said he had to stop the meeting and break up an altercation between four people outside including Mr Harris. They dispersed when Cllr Hubbocks threatened to call the police.
Yesterday, Mr Harris told the Herald that a woman followed him up the street berating him.
Allotment Plots are due to start selling plots on 1st September, but Mr Harris confirmed yesterday this had been pushed back to mid-September.
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