Gypsy anger at site search
CRITERIA to be used in the search for traveller sites in parts of the Fens are offensive and illegal, according to The Gypsy Council. South Holland District Council has come under fire after sending The Gypsy Council its proposals on how it will identify
CRITERIA to be used in the search for traveller sites in parts of the Fens are offensive and illegal, according to The Gypsy Council.
South Holland District Council has come under fire after sending The Gypsy Council its proposals on how it will identify new sites.
The criteria were drawn up after the district council decided in January not to go ahead with sites at Sutton Bridge and Long Sutton. Councillors said the sites were too close to houses, poorly screened and there had been a lack of consultation with nearby residents.
A Travellers Needs Assessment has identified a need for 15 residential pitches and a stopping place for 10 caravans. There is an urgent need for sites to be identified.
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In a letter, The Gypsy Council says: "Your criteria deliberately ensures that gypsy caravan sites are treated less favourably than houses for non-gypsy people. In our view that is not only offensive but illegal."
It says it is wrong and illegal to exclude and isolate traveller sites from other types of residential properties
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It has criticised the district council's view that "avoiding impact on residential properties will be the overriding factor". The Gypsy Council says: "This is not only going to be unworkable, but is, in our view, discriminatory. The overriding factor has to be whether the site will be used or not".
But the district council says it does not accept the criticisms and wants to identify sites which are attractive and convenient. In its bid to avoid unacceptable impact on residential areas, it says: "There is no question, however, of the council promoting sites in remote, unhealthy or unsafe locations."
The Gypsy Council is also angry there is no mention of private sites. It says: "There should be a variety of sites from transit/emergency, private sites, council residential sites and the use of land at various times for weddings or funerals. Please add private sites to the list.