BUSINESSES near a proposed relocation site for families from Dale Farm fear it could affect trade if the plans are approved.

The Irish Traveller Movement is awaiting the outcome of a planning application for a 15-pitch site on land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency off Gardiners Way, Basildon.

Members of the public have to make their views known by October 31 before a target decision date by Basildon Council of November 27.

Businesses from the neighbouring Pipps Hill industrial estate have already made their views clear.

Michael Lewis, director of the Underfloor Heating Store in Gardiners Lane South, wrote: “I cannot imagine that any business would attract customers and maintain a professional image with a campsite next door.”

Andy Dowsett of Auto Enterprises on the Pembroke Business Centre in Gardiners Lane South has also objected.

He said: “Being one of the largest and well known (industrial areas) in the Basildon area, I dread to think of the potential negative economic effect this could have to all businesses based on the estate.”

He said it could deter customers and even landlords from setting up new businesses and also compromise long-awaited plans for the business park to the west of the estate.

There has been a 25-pitch Essex County Council run traveller site in Courtauld Road next to the nearby Burnt Mills industrial estate for several years.

A traveller from the site, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s all a storm in a tea cup. You don’t see our site putting off any customers do you?”