More room for gypsy caravans
GYPSIES and travellers in Stevenage and North Herts may receive more pitches for their caravans. The findings of a soon-to-be published independent research study suggest that an additional 115 caravan pitches are needed across Hertfordshire, over a five-
GYPSIES and travellers in Stevenage and North Herts may receive more pitches for their caravans.
The findings of a soon-to-be published independent research study suggest that an additional 115 caravan pitches are needed across Hertfordshire, over a five-year period to 2011.
January 2006 figures show there are 28 caravans on authorised sites in Stevenage and 14 in North Herts.
The estimated caravan pitches on authorised sites at the moment are 16 in Stevenage and eight in North Herts, as there are 1.7 caravans to a pitch.
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The need for additional authorised pitches identified by the study up to 2011 are stated as seven in Stevenage and three in North Herts.
The report, compiled by researchers from three universities, is part of a review being undertaken by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) to identify the number of pitches needed across the region. Around 26 per cent of gypsy and traveller caravans in the East of England are on unauthorised sites.
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The study identifies the need for permanent pitches but does not take into account short stays.
John Reynolds, chairman of the East of England Regional Planning, said the report is about ensuring sites, run by gypsies, local authorities or travellers, don't have an adverse effect on the environment.
As well as working with local authorities they have a continued dialogue with gypsies and travellers.
He said: "We are looking at how to solve the problems we've got with illegal, unauthorised sites.
"We need better sites for gypsies and travellers where they can stay long-term. They need health care and education."
He said the report is still in its early stages.
The findings will be considered by the EERA's Regional Planning Panel at a meeting on March 8 in Cambridge and the final decision on the number and distribution of pitches will be made by Government in 2009.