MP’s fury at traveller pitch okay
Stewart Jackson hits out at planning committee
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.”