October 22nd, 2016

Revived gypsy stop-off bid prompts anger

Revived gypsy stop-off bid prompts anger Revived gypsy stop-off bid prompts anger
Travellers camped in the Tenpin Bowling car park in Leamington in August. (s)

A RENEWED bid to create a gypsy stop-over site on the outskirts of Southam have angered townspeople.

Warwickshire County Council is once more looking to set up a so-called “Emergency Stopping Place” for gypsies and travellers at the road chipping store on the Daventry Road. It would provide a temporary stop-over for up to 28 days.

But a previous attempt to create such stop-over at the same site two years ago met with a hostile response from residents.

They argued it was not safe being next to a busy road and the proposal was finally dropped – only to now be revived again.

Coun Andrew Crump, Stratford district councillor for Southam, accused the county council of ignoring the views of townspeople by bringing back the proposal.

He told The Observer: “The last time this plan was put forward the town expressed its views to the county council, alerting them to a number of issues.

“We urged the council to reconsider and scout for a more suitable location. We understand that these sites have to exist but there are more than enough areas to meet the demands.”

“There is a real danger in providing this sort of living space with no footpaths and road safety provisions.”

“When we put our views across in 2013 it seemed our voices were heard, but the county council haven’t taken our points into account this time around.”

Creating emergency sites aims to stop travellers illegally camping on private land – which has been an on-going problem throughout Warwickshire for years.

Under Government legislation, Stratford District Council is looking to provide around 55 permanent pitches for gypsies and travellers over the next 15 years. Neighbouring Warwick District Council needs to provide 31.

Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet will consider the proposal at a meeting today (Thursday).