Fringe Box



Shalford Gypsy Site – Council Scoping To Continue Despite Revised Guidelines

Published on: 7 Apr, 2012
Updated on: 28 Apr, 2012

“The council are toast!” claimed Chris Parker leader of the Stonebridge Action Group (STAG) at this week’s council meeting, “…if they try to proceed with the proposal to create a gypsy and traveller site in Stonebridge” [by Shalford].

His verbal statement followed a written question in which he asked, “In view of the revised guidelines issued by the Secretary of State for communities and Local Government, [… would the Stonebridge Depot] be removed from the Council’s list of sites to be scoped?”.

Chris Parker told councillors that he had obtained legal opinion that currently the Council appeared to be ignoring not only the revised guidelines but the law of the land which says all brownfield sites have to be examined before any Green Belt is considered. Additionally, he claimed, the costings were now far higher than original estimates given by the council by a large margin.

Cllr Jenny Wicks, GBC Executive member who leads on Planning and Development, responded in writing, “The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the new Traveller policy does not rule out traveller sites in the Green Belt entirely it simply ensures that tight controls are in place. … Taking into account these policy documents as a whole, the Council has determined that the current scoping exercise should continue.

In her follow up verbal response Cllr Wicks, said, “We will continue to consider costs and keep all parties informed fully on remediation and costs. The process will remain open to public scrutiny.

“We are a borough that is 89% Green Belt so it is very likely that some Green Belt will be required. All councils are required to provide sufficient gypsy and traveller sites to meet the need established by local evidence.” She added that until there was sufficient provision the risk of the council losing further planning appeals for such sites would continue.

Map showing the proposed Stonbridge Gypsy and traveller site at Stonebridge just south of Shalford. Copyright GBC

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