Council carries on with talks on travellers' sites
Bath and North East Somerset Council will push ahead with a consultation looking at allocating patches of land for use as traveller sites despite pleas from the public calling for the whole process to be halted.
The council's cabinet confirmed they will not be creating gypsy and traveller sites in Bath Old Road Radstock, Stanton Wick former colliery or at land near to Ellsbridge House in Keynsham but said they will now be looking closely at 22 other suggested locations including Clandown and Radford.
B&NES, which currently has no authorised gypsy or traveller sites despite being required to find at least 22 permanent pitches, 20 transit pitches and one yard for travelling showmen, also confirmed that land located within the green belt at Woollard Lane in Whitchurch, which is already used without planning permission as a traveller site, will be included in the list of sites being pushed forward, as will other sites in Twerton and Newbridge.
The meeting heard from 20 members of the public who spoke to make their views known. Many requested that the council stop the process and questioned why the council had ditched the scoring matrix used to identify the suitability of possible sites.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Mary Walsh, joint chair of Whitchurch Village Action Group, questioned why the site at Woollard Lane had not been dismissed and warned that by including it on the list of possible sites it was leaving the whole green belt open to inappropriate development.
Residents in Stanton Wick and Radstock say they have been celebrating the permanent removal of the sites close to their homes.
Clarke Osborne, chair of Stanton Wick Action Group which was fighting plans to create 15 permanent and five transit pitches at the former colliery, welcomed the removal of what he described as "three wholly unsuitable, unsustainable, and undeliverable sites."
Les Robson, co-chair of Bath Old Road Action Group said: "This is a victory for local democracy and community action. We have given B&NES many opportunities to scrap their deeply-flawed plans and they have finally listened. The council should be ashamed that local residents have had to put their lives on hold and gone to considerable personal and financial expense in fighting these wholly inappropriate sites. We hope that B&NES will find suitable sites for the travelling community and address this very real need."
Councillor Eleanor Jackson (Lab, Radstock) described the consultation so far as a "total shambles."
Dr Jackson pointed out the need for housing for travellers but criticised the way the local authority has carried out the current consultation and the impact it has already had of residents – including a Radstock man whose house sale fell through when the public became aware that Bath Old Road could be home to a traveller site.
She encouraged the council to ensure there are enough planning officers working on the project and that the views of travellers were being listened to.
She also suggested the same planning questions should be asked about traveller sites as would be of any other housing development.
Dr Jackson suggested the site at Clandown FC earlier in the summer when B&NES asked for possible site suggestions.
B&NES will now be carrying out a "stock take" and review between now and December.