Gypsy transit site to be discussed at Cheshire East cabinet meeting tomorrow
Cheshire East will be discussing proposals for a transit site for Gypsies and Travellers at a special cabinet meeting tomorrow.
The meeting has been called to discuss the site allocations and development policies document and this includes looking at provision for a transit site.
Once again the need was highlighted at the end of last month when Travellers pitched up on the Barony Park in Nantwich for the ninth time this year.
Cllr Nick Mannion, cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “The council has a responsibility to address all housing needs – including those of Gypsies and Travellers. It is fully aware of the impact of unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments on local communities. Cheshire East Council continues to explore the options for a permanent Gypsy and Traveller transit site. While this work is carried out, we are considering other mechanisms to deal with the increase in unauthorised encampments. Providing a transit site is part of the council’s draft site allocations and development policies document. The proposals will be discussed at a meeting of cabinet on 6 August. We recognise that this is an important issue to residents and communities and we are seeking a long-term solution.”
Council leader Cllr Sam Corcoran said: “I am aware of the distress and inconvenience caused by unauthorised encampments and I have been actively looking into what action can be taken by this council to address the situation. Whilst providing a transit sit is undoubtedly the best solution – and would strengthen the powers of the police to move on unauthorised encampments – it will take time to select the right site and develop the site. In the meantime a number of options are being looked at.
Cheshire East Council leader Sam Corcoran and Nantwich Town councillor David Marren met with Friends of the Barony Park representatives Rachel Cole and James Neighbour at theNantwich park last month
“Using physical barriers to protect specific sites is being considered – so-called ‘target hardening’. For a very open site, such as The Barony, this would be difficult and, if not done sympathetically, could make the site less attractive. Moreover, there have recently been unauthorised encampments in two parks in Macclesfield, which have ‘secure’ perimeters. So, target hardening measures can only be viewed as a deterrent and are not entirely effective at prevention. Injunctions have been suggested as a solution. However, Bromley Council recently lost a High Court case over one such injunction broadly targeting ‘unnamed persons’. There are concerns that this will now set a legal precedent, making similar injunctions much harder to obtain and legal advice is being sought on the future use of injunctions. I can’t explain why injunctions were not put in place under this council’s previous administration, before the Bromley case. Please be assured that solving the issue of unauthorised encampments is a high priority for the new administration at Cheshire East Council.”
You can view the plans drawn up by the residents and comment on them here.