Assembly losing the plot’ over gypsy sites
COUNCILS will have to spend more than expected on a public inquiry into the provision of gypsy and travellers site, claims a county councillor. Cllr Chris White, leader of the Liberal Democrats on the East of England Regional Assembly and his group on H
COUNCILS will have to spend more than expected on a public inquiry into the provision of gypsy and travellers' site, claims a county councillor.
Cllr Chris White, leader of the Liberal Democrats on the East of England Regional Assembly and his group on Herts County Council, said he has been "stunned" by the increase in pitches required across the region.
He said that independent researched showed that in Herts 115 caravan pitches were needed, but the regional assembly increased this to 176 when considering the issue.
The outcome means North Herts would have to produce an additional 15 pitches to the six authorised that already exist while in East Herts, too, 15 extra pitches are seen to be needed.
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Cllr White said: Councils which object will now have to invest resources in fighting this in the Examination in Public or through the courts."
He had tabled a motion at a meeting of the regional assembly which would have allowed councils in Herts to resist new pitch allocations under the planning process.
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Councils, he said, however, would have to prove that provisions for additional sites could not be met.
"This was a measured response to a process which had quite frankly lost the plot," he said.
An independent report has suggested that sites in Sandon, Barkway, Ashwell and surrounding Buntingford could be used to provide the space for additional pitches.
Assembly chairman Cllr John Reynolds said: "Throughout the east of England we need more legal places for gypsies and travellers.
"With every local authority providing some additional accommodation, it will help solve the problem of unauthorised encampments, which can cause problems for both residents and gypsies and travellers," he said.