'We don't want traveller camp in our back yard' - Concerns raised over plans for Green Belt site near Stevenage hospital
PUBLISHED: 14:01 22 January 2016
Protestors digging into the detail of Stevenage's proposed planning blueprint have expressed outrage that a gypsy and traveller camp could be built on former Green Belt land near the town's Lister Hospital.
Stevenage Borough Council’s Local Plan at a glance
• A total of 7,600 new homes, new sites for businesses and industry, parks, community centres, shops, and doctors’ surgeries all make up In line with government guidelines it.
• Shapes the future of Stevenage up to 2031.
• Aims to ensure the town has the correct balance of economic growth and housing.
• The plan will go before the council and its executive for approval
• It will be examined by a government planning inspector.
• You have until 5pm on Wednesday, February 17, to look at the outline plan in the leaflet the council has posted through letterboxes and make comments on the proposals.
• You can also look at the full document online at stevenage.gov.uk.
Plans for the site are outlined in Stevenage Borough Council’s draft Local Plan, which went out for consultation last week.
On page 123 of the document there are details of the plans for an 11 to 15 pitch traveller site north of Graveley Road.
The site used to be in the Green Belt but the council has moved the border northwards to accommodate the development.
The plan states: “Our evidence suggest between 11 and 16 additional permanent pitches are needed over the plan period to 2031.”
The council says the proposed location was decided after a site search in 2014, but some have asked why it is not mentioned in the glossy brochure sent to homes across Stevenage last week summarising the plan.
One protestor said: “They should have put it in the document they sent out to people.
“You can see it online in the plans but it’s not the same as being able to see it in the brochure.
“It’s almost as if they are trying to hide it away.
“Why can’t they extent the existing traveller’s camp at Dyes Lane?
“This is going to be opposite the hospital and opposite a care home and right next to a new housing estate. It just isn’t the right sort of place to build it.”
Another man taking issue with the idea said: “It seems like it’s a done deal, but we’ve had no notification of it.
“I am very frustrated about how they have produced this document. I personally would like to hear about a traveller’s camp on my doorstep.
“I have family and elderly parents that live in the area and they are going to be affected by this.
“There’s simply no thought at all that’s gone into this. It’s going to cause huge problems.”
A council spokesman said: “The government requires us to provide additional accommodation for the gypsy and traveller community as well as the settled community. The proposals that we are consulting on are detailed in the plan.”
The council document states that the site will be kept under review and that if there are not enough travellers to fill it they might be accommodated in existing sites across the county.
A camp would only be developed if a planning application which meets all the council’s criteria is approved.