Gypsy site plan raises concern
SIX locations have been earmarked as potential travellers and gypsy sites. And it has seen communities alight with worry . The Scott Wilson report, commissioned by Herts County Council and local authorities, including North Herts and East Herts district
SIX locations have been earmarked as potential travellers and gypsy sites.
And it has seen communities "alight with worry".
The Scott Wilson report, commissioned by Herts County Council and local authorities, including North Herts and East Herts district councils, has identified 21 potential "areas for search" in Herts which could make suitable locations for traveller sites.
These include Hinxworth Road South, Ashwell, London Road and Buckland Road in Barkway, The Joint North in Reed, land south of Notley Green, and north of Payne End, in Sandon.
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Cllr Howard Marshall, district councillor for Barkway and Reed, said: "A lot of communities have already been set alight with worry, but nothing has been decided yet.
"This report is only the first stage of the process.
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"The council had to carry out this study as part of the local development framework pro-cess.
"We don't yet know how many additional pitches will need to be provided in North Herts.
"In my opinion it will be at least six months before we begin looking at these locations and see which of them, if any, are suitable." he said.
Cllr Tony Hunter, county councillor for the North Herts rural division, said: "It's an emotive subject, but we don't want people to be worrying over nothing.
"The council has to name these locations even though the chances are most of them will never be used."
A consultation carried out by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) concluded that 1,220 additional pitches for travellers must be provided across the region by 2011.
In addition, independent research published last year by Opinion Research Services concluded that there were not enough legal and permanent sites in the region. It predicted that a total of 45 new pitches will be needed over the next five years in Herts.
The final decision on the number of pitches which each local authority must provide will be made by the EERA.
It will then be up to the individual authorities to decide on the locations of any new sites.
Sandon Parish Council has yet to be formally told of the reports findings.
Parish clerk Dorothy Brown said: "I've spoken to people in the neighbourhood and they are worried.
"It's difficult for a small parish to accommodate new residents at the best of times, let alone a whole insular community."
North-east Herts MP Oliver Heald said: "I think it's wrong to just put these sites anywhere, ignoring the traditional routes travellers follow.
"This seems like a typically top-down government scheme.
- Hinxworth Road South, Ashwell
- London Road, Barkway
- Buckland Road, Barkway
- North of Payne End, Sandon
- Land south of Notley Green, Sandon
- The Joint North, Reed