Green light given for new Gypsy and Traveller site in Essex
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Development
Basildon Council has passed a planning application for a 15-pitch Traveller and Gypsy site in Essex.
The plans, which were submitted by the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB), include a community building and a playground.
The site is to be set on vacant land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency at Gardiners Way, Basildon, and is a short distance from Cray Hill's Primary School which is attended by many of the children of the residents evicted from the Dale Farm site.
Yvonne MacNamara, CEO of the ITMB, said: "The ITMB welcomes Basildon Council’s decision to support a new Traveller site for Basildon’s most vulnerable and neediest homeless Gypsy and Traveller families.”
“Basildon Council’s planning committee has rightly recognised that the planned site will help address the dire need for more Gypsy and Traveller pitches both in Basildon and within Essex County Council as a whole.”
Cllr Tony Ball, leader of the council, said: “The fact that the travelling community have gone through the correct processes to find a site and gain planning permission is clearly a step in the right direction and something I have called for over a number of years.
“My only wish is that they had been doing this back in 2003 when the previous government deemed the site illegal and gave travellers 2 years to find new legal sites and move off. All that happened was a major expansion of the site and ultimately the site clearance that we were forced to carry out last year at great cost to the public purse.
“It must also be made clear that this should not be viewed as a replacement site for those previously living at Dale Farm or indeed those living illegally in Oak Lane. This will be a managed site and places will be offered through a fair allocations policy based on the needs of the community, in the same way that bricks and mortar housing is allocated through the council waiting list.”