Plans for new trav­ellers’ sites set to be axed

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By TARA DUN­DON

THE num­ber of gypsy and trav­eller sites planned for Peter­bor­ough will be slashed, ac­cord­ing to Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil’s leader.

Councillor Marco Cer­este has vowed to abol­ish the 55 gypsy and trav­eller pitches cur­rently be­ing pro­posed around Eye, Farcet and Nor­wood.

The pro­posed lo­ca­tion of the pitches had caused up­roar among res­i­dents who turned out in their hun­dreds to con­sul­ta­tion events ear­lier this year to protest.

The change comes af­ter the East of Eng­land Re­gional Spa­tial Strat­egy (RSS), which set out the re­quire­ments for the re­gion’s hous­ing, em- ploy­ment land and trav­ellers’ sites up un­til 2021, was scrapped by the coali­tion Govern­ment in favour of al­low­ing lo­cal coun­cils to de­cide what their own needs are.

Cllr Cer­este has said the new fig­ure for trav­eller sites would be “sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced” and they would not be in Eye, Farcet or Nor­wood.

But he added he would not know the new fig­ure or lo­ca­tions un­til a re­view and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion were done by the coun­cil to find out ex­actly how many sites are needed and where they should be sit­u­ated.

He said: “We will pro­vide other trav­ellers’ sites. How­ever, the num­ber of pitches set out will be quite a lot less as we don’t be­lieve there is as big a need for them.

“We also don’t be­lieve they should be sited in Farcet, Nor­wood and Eye be­cause both the res­i­dents and the trav­ellers don’t want them there.”

As part of the RSS, it was pro­posed that Peter­bor­ough should pro­vide 25,000 new homes and 20,000 ad­di­tional jobs in the 20-year pe­riod from 2001 to 2021.

Cllr Cer­este said they would con­tinue to meet the 25,000 homes tar­get but hopes to bring more than 20,000 jobs to the city.

The news has re­ceived mixed re­ac­tion. Eye res­i­dent Dale McKean said while he wel­comed the pro­posal to build the trav­ellers’ pitches away from the vil­lage, he was still not happy about the plans to build 305 homes in Eye by 2021.

While MP for North West Cam­bridgeshire Shailesh Vara said the coun­cil needed to en­sure that its pri­or­ity is eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

He said: “That means wealth cre­ation and new jobs.

“There is no point build­ing houses if peo­ple can’t af­ford to buy them.

“With trav­ellers’ sites, it is vi­tal there is wide pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and the views of lo­cal peo­ple are ac­tu­ally lis­tened to.”

PLAN: Cllr Marco Cer­este.

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