TRAVELLER sites across the Malvern Hills were the subject of debate this week, with residents calling on councillors not to increase them.

At the full council meeting of Malvern Hills District, councillors heard from Phil Tanebourne, who was representing a number of residents near Hillbee Farm, Upton.

In his representation to the council, he said the proposed expansions to traveller sites there were neither safe nor appropriate.

The Hillbee application has come before councillors on a number of occasions, most recently in 2020 when an application to expand the site was refused.

This was due to highways concerns about appropriate site access.

At the time, the traveller family living on the site said they “just wanted to live” and rejected the council’s concerns.

The Finney family, who live at Hillbee Farm in Welland Road, said their plans for site, which included an additional caravan onsite, will not lead to more traffic coming and going, despite councillors concerns, which included access to the site for vehicles and the possibility of the land being used for profit.

Shaun Finney, who lives on the site with his family, said in February last year: “We are not here for profit, we are here for living. It is not about money, I don’t want money, I just want a home at the end of the day.”

Originally, the site belonged to Mr Finney’s grandfather Leonard, who owned the site from 1993 onwards.

When he died in 2013, Upton residents filled the streets as his horse drawn funeral carriage made its way through the town.

The new plans are for an additional three pitches at Hillbee Farm, with other sites also in the plans.

These are five pitches at The Orchard, Evesham, two pitches at Blossom Hill, Aldington and six at Hughes Barn, Badsey.

Councillors agreed to push back the date of the proposed public consultation into the new sites to "as soon as possible after the May elections" meaning no decision has yet been made.

Since January 2019, Wychavon have granted planning consent for 19 pitches but no new pitches or plots have been granted in either Worcester City or Malvern Hills.

According to council reports, contact has been made with approximately 30 landowners/agents who submitted their land as housing/employment allocations for the SWDPR and whose land is within 800m of a town.

Despite this, None have confirmed that they wanted their land to be considered as a potential Traveller site allocation.