Angry Gypsy mum to appeal over bid for family home

Wiltshire Times: Maggie Smith-Bendell, Queen of the Gypsies, leaves Wednesday night’s meeting Maggie Smith-Bendell, Queen of the Gypsies, leaves Wednesday night’s meeting

Gypsy mum-of-eight Theresa Cash launched a tirade at Wiltshire councillors on Wednesday night as she vowed to appeal over their decision to refuse her application for a mobile home in Southwick.

Mr and Mrs Cash want to move 10 members of their family onto a piece of land at the junction of Frome Road and Poplar Tree Lane. The land has no water or power and is next to a 60mph road.

The family includes Jerry, 21; Eileen, 19; Lawrance, 16; Kathleen, 11; Mickey, nine; Lizzie-Rose, eight; Marry Ellen, seven; Paddy, five, and her grandchild, Milley Connors, aged one.

Councillors rejected the plans at the Western Area Planning meeting over fears for the safety of Mrs Cash’s children.

Warminster councillor Pip Ridout said: “It is simply crazy to say that a family of eight children could live on a site like this next to a 60mph road. It is simply not suitable.”

Cllr Ridout’s opposition was interrupted by Mrs Cash, who then stormed out of the meeting. She told one member of the public “that’ll teach you” as she stamped on their mobile phone before shouting to the women in the room: “None of you have wombs.”

Cllr Ridout later had to be escorted by a security officer when she left the council chamber at the Bradley Road offices to use the toilet, because of fears she would be harassed in the corridor.

Outside the meeting Mrs Cash told the Wiltshire Times: “I want a fair decision, not a prejudiced one. They never gave me a chance to have my say. I want to appeal this straight away.”

Mrs Cash was supported at the meeting by Maggie Smith-Bendell, known colloquially as the Queen of the Gypsies, who said the busy road did not worry them.

She said: “The family is of Irish origin and they were born and bred on the road. The children are very road wise. We are not like the settled community.”

Mrs Smith-Bendell also walked out of the meeting, saying outside: “I’ve never been treated as badly as this in 20 years.”

A bid for a second gypsy site at nearby Hoopers Pool, which is also on a junction with Frome Road, was deferred by councillors. They will visit the site during the day on June 20 before making their decision that evening.

Those plans are recommended for approval by council officers. More than 100 villagers have objected.

Southwick councillor Francis Morland said: “There has been a great deal of worry and distress over these applications in Southwick.”

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