More gypsy sites coming to county - have your say where
MORE travellers sites are on their way to Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds as council bosses ask the public to nominate locations.
People in the three areas are being invited to earmark places that could have publicly-run organised sites. It follows all local councils being told by the Government to identify and update annually a supply of gypsy, traveller and travelling show people residential sites.
The authorities will not be told how many sites they should have in their areas, but must have a five-year land supply, as they already have to for housing. Ministers say there are not enough authorised gypsy sites and they want to avoid problems that have affected many areas of the country, when travellers have descended on private land.
Gloucestershire currently has just four sites, all of which are full and there is a waiting list.
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Three are in Tewkesbury borough and one is in the Cotswolds.
Sandhurst Lane near Gloucester has 46 plots, Cursey Lane in Elmstone Hardwicke 19, Showborough near Twyning 10 and Culkerton, near Tetbury, just four.
Cheltenham Borough Council has no allocated sites in its area. Its head of planning, Tracy Crews, said: "The council is responsible for making sure that all of Cheltenham's communities have an opportunity to live somewhere that meets their needs.
"By doing this work up front, we aim to ensure that people from these groups can be accommodated on suitable sites."
The public consultation, for the whole county, will run from this Monday until September 20. Once a site has been submitted, its potential will be assessed against specific criteria, which the councils are working on establishing.
If a site is identified, it does not automatically mean planning permission would be granted or that it would be allocated as a gypsy site.
The decision to consult the public on the matter, for the first time since 2010, follows a Gloucestershire Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment having been carried out by independent consultants.
A nomination form can be downloaded from www.gct-jcs.org
Tewkesbury Borough Council's lead member for built environment, Councillor Derek Davies, said: "The emerging Joint Core Strategy and the local Tewkesbury Borough Plan will aim to meet the needs of communities by making sure there is a range of accommodation available."
Cotswold District Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for forward planning, Councillor Nick Parsons, said: "We are developing a Local Plan in the Cotswolds which aims to provide a range of accommodation to meet the needs of the community."