Plans for new travellers’ sites set to be axed
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.