Traveller sites not suitable’

PUBLISHED: 09:02 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 11 May 2010

OLIVER HEALD

OLIVER HEALD

MP Oliver Heald has stressed that sites suggested for travellers were not suitable. His comments came after meeting residents in Sandon who are worried about a travellers site being set up near to the village. The site is one of a number in North and Eas

MP Oliver Heald has stressed that sites suggested for travellers were not suitable.

His comments came after meeting residents in Sandon who are worried about a travellers' site being set up near to the village.

The site is one of a number in North and East Herts which was identified in a consultants report.

Mr Heald said: "The sites identified in the local villages are not suitable.

"There are no facilities nearby for the travelling community and the land is known to flood."

The MP for North-east Herts met with residents at Sandon Village Hall on Thursday, and with residents from Barkway at his Royston surgery on Friday.

He has received dozens of letters, e-mails and telephone calls about the consultation on new traveller sites in North-east Hertfordshire.

Mr Heald said: "I have been strongly against the Government's demand that areas such as ours which have no real traveller tradition should make extra pitches available.

"It is obviously wrong to force travellers into areas where they do not wish to be, and where there is no tradition of the traveller lifestyle."

He has already had discussions with the other parish councils.

Mr Heald urged residents to respond to the public consultation exercise to be run by North Herts District Council.

"There are two things that the residents can do.

"Firstly they should make sure they look at the detail of the proposed sites and secondly as many people as possible should write in to the consultation to convey their views against the sites."

The consultation starts on January 24 for eight weeks.

Meanwhile, residents from Barkway are planning to object to the travellers' site during a presentation to North Herts District Council's Cabinet members on January 29.

Barkway Parish Council set up a sub-committee at the beginning of the month to co-ordinate the protest.

And the parish council warned on its website: "There appears to be a lot more apathy in Barkway than other villages.

It said such an attitude could make the village "vunerable" in the future.

The East of England Regional Assembly's regional planning panel recommended last month that each local authority should provide a minimum of 15 additional pitches.

As a result it has been recommened that North Herts District Council should increase the number of its authoritsed pitches from the current number of seven to 22 by 2011. The regional planning panel's recommedations are to be discussed by the regional assembly on January 25.

Two sites in the original consulatants proposals - The Joint North, Reed and Hinxworth Road South, Ashwell - have already been thrown out by the district council because neither met the critieria for use as a travellers' site.

In North Herts, the sites identified in the report include London Road, Barkway and Buckland Road, Barkway. In East Herts the sites include north of Payne End, Sandon; land south of Notley Green, Sandon; Baldock Road, Throcking Lane and Royston Road in Buntingford.

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