CDC councillors debate over issue of traveller sites in the Cotswolds
4:49pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
THE issue of travellers illegally setting up camp in the Cotswolds raised its head once again at Cotswold District Council’s latest meeting.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Liberal Democrat leader on CDC, quizzed council leader Lynden Stowe on when a designated travellers’ site will be introduced to the Cotswolds.
Cllr Hodgkinson told the meeting that in the last year travellers have been permitted by CDC to stay on a green field in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Coberley.
He said: “This council took enforcement action to remove them from the land. However, at appeal the Planning Inspector has allowed the travellers to stay on the land for three years, in the face of local opposition.”
The travellers were allowed to stay on the land due to CDC’s failure to identify a specific travellers’ site in the district.
The Lib Dem councillor put pressure on CDC and asked how it allowed such a situation to occur.
In response, Cllr Stowe explained that under new guidance, which was introduced last year, CDC has been working with other Gloucestershire authorities to meet new requirements.
CDC has been working on a Joint Call for Sites, a system that asks local people and landowners to suggest suitable locations for travellers.
The scheme has been in consultation for some time and is due to end on Friday, October 4.
He added: “CDC is not alone in facing a five-year supply shortfall. Of all the Gloucestershire authorities, only Stroud District Council has a five-year supply of travellers’ sites.”
Despite Cllr Stowe’s response, Cllr Hodgkinson claimed that CDC has been “leaving the door open to illegal travellers’ sites”.
Cllr Stowe hit back by saying: “I welcome any suggestion from Cllr Hodgkinson for travellers’ sites within his area.”
Travellers have often pitched up in the Cotswolds, earlier in the year up to 70 travellers with 15 caravans set up camp on land at the Kingshill Sports Complex in Cirencester.
The travellers were given permission to stay on the land by Cirencester Town Council.