PEOPLE in a leafy area of Stockton have been told there won’t be a gypsy caravan site built near their homes after all.
Hundreds of people across the borough have officially objected to the idea of a Gypsy site being built close by.
Stockton Borough Council has identified a need for 26 more Gypsy caravan pitches and has consulted the public about six possible sites.
That consultation period came to an end in March and the council is making further considerations before debating the issue at Cabinet next month.
However, one of the proposed sites, at Yarm Back Lane in Hartburn, is no longer available. The site was the only privately-owned pitch which had been proposed, but The Northern Echo has been told that the owner has changed his mind and informed the council it can not be used as a Gypsy site after all.
James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, who is due for election in the marginal seat next year, has written to constituents about the issue across Hartburn.
The letter said: “I am now writing to inform you that this site has been withdrawn. I was told this is in part because of the volume of objections received from residents.”
Cllr Terry Laing, Conservative councillor for Hartburn, confirmed the news. He said: “We represent anyone who lives in our community, so it can be difficult, but I would say it is good news. It wasn’t in a good place and there would connection and transport issues so, for those reasons, we’d be against the site being used.”
Cllr Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “We can confirm that the owner of the site to the rear of Roddmere, Yarm Back Lane, has notified us that they no longer wish to promote the land for the purposes of a gypsy and traveller site.
“We are currently giving careful consideration to the more than 500 representations we received during the consultation process and the findings of this work will be presented to Cabinet for consideration in July.”
Opposition appears to have strongest in Thornaby where two sites, Eltham Crescent and land between the Tees and Thornaby Road, are being considered. Other sites for consideration include Frederick Street in Stockton town centre, land between Bowesfield Crescent and the River Tees, Stockton and Mill Lane, Billingham.
No-one could be found to comment from the Stockton Traveller community. However, spokespeople for the community have previously complained of prejudice and argue Gypsies often unfairly take the blame for wrong-doing committed by people outside of their community.