New Gypsy and Traveller Sites under consideration
On Monday evening at CWaC's Local Development Plan Working Group there was a presentation from the council's retained consultants — WYG — regarding the provision of new Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Borough.
Despite some initial attempts by officers of the borough council to prevent the publication of the list of sites on the Councils shortlist, the list has now been published. two of the sites are located in Malpas ward, the nearest being land adjacent to Hampton Industrial estate, whilst the other local site is on land adjacent to the A41 near Tushingham cum Grindley.
The consultancy had started with an initial list of some 9,000 sites. Through various processes — such as ensuring no sites were in the green belt, this list has whittled down through a long list and then a short list process until the consultants reached a list of some 26 potential sites.
The sites were Red, Amber, and Green according to what the consultants judge the planning and physical constraints are that may hinder these sites ultimately being allocated for Gypsies and Travellers.
Those present at the meeting were given a very cursory high level overview of the work undertaken with no detail given of the sites under consideration. They weren't even given addresses or Council ward details for the sites in question, instead they were simply shown places on a Borough map which was its devoid of detail.
Some Councillors present were so appalled just how cursory the presentation was and the fact officers had failed to publish the list of sites with the working group's papers 7 days in advance of the meeting, challenged the situation.
They were told by the council's most senior planning officer that this had been a deliberate decision — effectively to ensure that the working group's meeting passed off peacefully. Some Councillors protested that this was inappropriate — and that in the interests of openness and transparency demanded that the list be published — and be open to full democratic scrutiny. Following this challenge officers relented, and the list is now able to be published.
The Officers and the Consultancy were also challenged as to whether the landowners and occupiers of the sites identified, had been informed. Councillors present were informed that this had not happened in many cases.
A lengthy consultation process will now begin and Malpas Cheshire Online will keep residents posted on the local situation. We would love to hear your comments on this proposal for a Gypsy and Traveller site being located close to the village. Email the editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sir John Talbot Leisure Centre, Whitchurch