Plan to find land for traveller sites in Hambleton

COUNCILS, landowners and the travelling community are being asked to identify areas of land suitable for authorised traveller sites.

Hambleton District Council is drawing up an action plan to try to make up a shortfall of pitches for travellers in its district.

A recent study undertaken on behalf of the council identified that 26 pitches, 11 council-owned pitches and 15 privately-owned pitches, would be needed over the next 15 years.

Now the authority is looking to landowners and their agents, parish councils and the traveller community to help identify sites they think might be suitable. These will be assessed by the council against its policies with a view to inviting planning applications for suitable sites.

Plans to allow travellers to remain living on an unofficial site at Ings Lane, near Great Broughton, were dismissed by a government planning inspector in November last year.

Residents had opposed plans to make the single pitch caravan site on farmland a registered site, with about 100 attending a public meeting about the issue in January last year. They said the plans would "open the flood gates" to more pitches at the site and said such developments were being concentrated unfairly in their area.

Councillor Mark Robson said the report would allow them to deal with current problems at several unauthorised gypsy sites in the district, and provide them in more appropriate locations.

He said: "The council needs to be more proactive in dealing with current problems at several unauthorised gypsy sites in the district.

"The key to this is planning for new pitch provision in more appropriate locations.

"As with other forms of housing, the Government expects councils to provide adequate suitable sites to meet established local housing needs from travellers and it is essential that we act to find suitable sites as quickly as possible. The council is also investigating providing public sites in conjunction with delivery partners."

He said sites should not harm the amenity of existing residents, be close to a town or large village with good access to a range of local services such as a school and shop, have good highway access and avoid protected sensitive areas.

Submitted sites will be fully assessed against planning policies and government guidelines Anyone with a potential suitable site should call Amanda Madden on 01609-767048 or email Amanda.madden@hambleton.gov.uk

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