Consultation over growth of gypsy sites

PUBLISHED: 15:57 03 August 2007 | UPDATED: 22:58 28 May 2010

A BID to restrict the growth of travellers sites in Fenland has been made by Cambridgeshire County Council which wants a more even spread across the rest of East Anglia. The council is backing a proposal that would see an extra 108 pitches for Fenland in

A BID to restrict the growth of travellers' sites in Fenland has been made by Cambridgeshire County Council which wants a more even spread across the rest of East Anglia.

The council is backing a proposal that would see an extra 108 pitches for Fenland in the next four years compared with 180 which could be forced on the district if a second option succeeds. Both options form part of a wide ranging consultation just ended by the East of England Regional Assembly.

The county council says its preferred option would see the number of pitches across the county rise to 250 in the coming years as opposed to 370 pitches if the second option succeeded.

"A key issue for Cambridgeshire was the distribution of provision across the region," says a report to the county council cabinet.

"Currently, the East of England has the highest number of gypsy and traveller caravans of all the regions in England - 24 per cent - and Cambridgeshire has the highest share of authorised and unauthorised pitches within the region at 35 per cent."

The report says whichever option is agreed will make no difference to Cambridge City, East Cambridgeshire or Huntingdonshire but it would make a difference to Fenland and South Cambs.

Their preferred option would reduce the pitch requirement in South Cambs and Fenland by 40 per cent. The report says by sharing the responsibility for pitches more evenly with local council areas in Suffolk and Norfolk, some of which have little or no provision, it would redress the uneven distribution.

The report concluded that the recommendation would still ensure choice and flexibility for gypsies and travellers "whilst ensuring that additional provision is made in those areas where gypsy and travellers currently reside".

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