MP’s fury at trav­eller pitch okay

Ste­wart Jack­son hits out at plan­ning com­mit­tee

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

MP Ste­wart Jack­son has branded a de­ci­sion by Pe­ter­bor­ough City Coun­cil to ap­prove a trav­eller pitch in Eye as “the worst de­ci­sion in my 11 years as an MP”.

‘The worst de­ci­sion in my 11 years as an MP’ - that was Ste­wart Jack­son’s ver­dict over plan­ning ap­proval for a trav­eller pitch in Eye. The Pe­ter­bor­ough MP was an­gered by a de­ci­sion taken by the city coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee on Tues­day.

Mr Jack­son re­sponded by re­fer­ring to the pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion of com­mit­tee mem­ber Coun­cil­lor Peter Hiller, who was found guilty in 2013 of ‘key­ing’ a car.

The MP tweeted: “Hiller thinks we char­ac­terise peo­ple as crim­i­nals and give them a hard time. He would know.”

Cllr Hiller had ear­lier voiced his un­ease with the rhetoric used about trav­ellers. He told the PT: “When things don’t go the way he de­mands, it seems Mr Jack­son re­verts to his de­fault mode of ver­bally lash­ing out, in frus­tra­tion.

“I have no in­ter­est in his per­son­al­ity is­sues. The plan­ning com­mit­tee made the right de­ci­sion.”

Cllr Hiller had ear­lier warned that pre­vi­ous de­ci­sions to refuse trav­ellers sites had been over­turned on ap­peal at a cost to the coun­cil.

The trav­eller who had put in the ap­pli­ca­tion sat with his fam­ily in the pub­lic gallery. Once the com­mit­tee found in his favour, peo­ple around him were au­di­bly dis­ap­pointed.

The is­sues raised against the ap­pli­ca­tion in­cluded the flood­risk, aloss of amenity for neigh­bours and a nar­row ac- cess road. It was also claimed that Eye al­ready had its fair share of trav­ellers’ pitches.

One of the ob­jec­tors was Eye coun­cil­lor Steve Allen who said a “large, un­der­ground bunker for the es­tab­lish­ment of a so­phis­ti­cated cannabis farm” had been dis­cov­ered at the site in Crow­land Road.

Cllr Allen called the lo­ca­tion “toxic” and Mr Jack­son said it was “com­pletely un­suit­able and in­ap­pro­pri­ate .”

“The rea­son you do not have wit­nesses here,” he added, “is be­cause of fear of ret­ri­bu­tion aris­ing from the pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity that took place.”

Barry Ni­chols, agent for the ap­pli­ca­tion, said sin­gle trav­eller pitches had worked else­where in the city. He added: “This will re­solve the his­toric issue of the cur­rent owner.”

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