Council land offer for gipsy sites

Landowners in south Norfolk are being offered the chance to lease or sell land to the district council that could become suitable sites for gypsies and travellers.

Landowners in south Norfolk are being offered the chance to lease or sell land to the district council that could become suitable sites for gypsies and travellers.

The open approach is being led by former councillor Ronnie Hoare, currently chairman of the authority's gipsy and traveller working group.

The council is required by central government to provide permanent and transit sites for gipsies and travellers in the district. And as part of its preliminary investigations, a council assessment has identified the need for four permanent sites and two transit sites in south Norfolk.

The assessment also identified the broad areas for locating the permanent sites as: along the A47 corridor, along the A11 corridor, and along the Waveney Valley corridor.

You may also want to watch:

Each permanent site will have six to eight pitches, where a pitch typically contains a static caravan, a touring caravan and an amenity block. Each of the sites would be between 1.5 to 2 acres, so the council must find up to a total of 8 acres.

The sites will have a suitable infrastructure, they will be managed, and will have natural screening where possible.

Most Read

The transit sites will have three or four pitches and would also be on main traffic routes.

Mr Hoare said: “The council is fully aware of the need for an even-handed approach between the settled community and the gipsy and traveller community. Most of the problems that have arisen between the two communities in the past have resulted from occupation of unauthorised sites. These problems have proved very costly to all parties.

“The benefits of providing authorised sites will mean that unauthorised occupation can be promptly and fairly dealt with.”

Mr Hoare also pointed out that if the council and the community moved quickly, the sites that South Norfolk is required to find will attract central government funding.

He said: “There is a degree of urgency in settling this, because central government has a finite amount of money available for development grants for these sites. The first councils which have properly drawn up plans and sites are more likely to get the full amount available.”

The authority is seeking land in lots of 1 to 2 acres - where the settled and travelling community can coexist harmoniously - for which it is prepared to either lease of buy on attractive terms.

Mr Hoare voiced concern that compulsory purchase might be employed if the council could not find the land needed to create the sites.

“If the council and the community fail to provide these sites on a voluntary and agreed basis, it will result in central government requiring compulsory purchase. That would inevitably result in arbitrary selection of sites, which in turn may not suit any of the parties concerned,” he explained.

Landowners with potential sites should contact Tony Fielder at the council offices on 01508 533928.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter