Approval for traveller site locations

PLANS for two permanent Gypsy and traveller sites in Norfolk took a step closer to reality yesterday as councillors approved their locations after years of consultations.

PLANS for two permanent Gypsy and traveller sites in Norfolk took a step closer to reality yesterday as councillors approved their locations after years of consultations.

At a special meeting of the Gypsy and traveller working group at South Norfolk Council, the sites off Stanfield Road in Wymondham and Old Harleston Road, Earsham were approved by a huge majority.

Voting for the plans were 27 councillors, while just one voted against it and one abstained.

The sites had been selected from a shortlist of 80 following two public consultation exercises last year, and will now be sent to the planning inspectorate for further public examination.


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It is thought that the sites, if built, will create 16 permanent pitches by the time they open in 2011.

Councillor John Fuller said that the decision had been the culmination of five years hard work.

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'We have, over many years, had to spend a fortune chasing gipsy and traveller families around the county like cat and mouse.'

He said that the council had 'a duty to be tough on unlawful encampments', but that it could not do so until it had places to re-home them.

South Norfolk Council received a �200,000 grant for the project from central government in late 2008, on the condition that it adds �100,000 of its own budget.

But there were complaints about the proposed sites from Murray Gray, councillor for Earsham, who said that it was unlikely that affordable housing would be placed in those locations, and that they were no more suitable for permanent traveller sites.

Objections were also raised by Tim Mills, property manager for George J. Goff Ltd, which owns the land off Stanfield Road.

Speaking at the meeting Mr Mills claimed that the company intended to consolidate the firm's two existing sites onto the land, which will increase staff numbers by 10pc each year for the next five years.

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