Gypsy Sites Planned For Bournemouth

Consultants Bakers Associates, appointed by all Dorset councils, have suggested four locations that they think could be suitable for gypsy and traveller site provision in Bournemouth.

Bournemouth's Cabinet on 12th October will be asked to agree to proceed with a formal public consultation to gain residents' views on the suitability of each site. The Council will not be asked to support or oppose the sites in any way at this stage.

Bakers' suggestions are:

-10 transit pitches on land off Park Road, Lansdowne (bordering the Wessex Way and public car park off Lansdowne Road)

-Three residential pitches on green belt land near Erlin Farm, Muscliffe Lane

-Five residential pitches in green belt land at Careys Road, off Broadway Lane.

-Eight residential pitches on green belt land on the edge of urban development at Throop Road, between Woodbury Avenue and the allotments.

Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Communities and Planning said:

"It is important to remember that these options are being suggested by Baker Associates, as part of the work that all Dorset councils have commissioned them to do, in order to comply with our existing legal duties. The sites in Bournemouth are not endorsed by us as a Council. However, Government is insisting that we consult with our residents on the suitability of these sites for gypsy and traveller accommodation. I can certainly give assurances that we will listen very carefully to what our residents have to say."

Cllr Peter Charon, Leader of the Council, said:

 "In Bournemouth, we are very disappointed. When we began this process, we had been promised a change in the law from the Government, that would allow local authorities to work together to respond to
the needs of the travelling community - for example, by providing a gypsy and traveller site for use by a number of councils in one suitable location. This would remove the existing requirement based arbitrarily on borough boundaries, regardless of geographical size or availability of sites.

"In fact, Bournemouth has led the way in motivating local authorities nationally to raise this issue with Government as a priority – through both the Local Government Association, making written representations to our local MPs, writing to Ministers and even by meeting with Eric Pickles.

"Government has not followed through on its promise to allow local authorities the power to determine the right level of provision within their area, despite launching a consultation on Planning for Traveller Sites, because there is still no proposal to remove the duties imposed previously."

Having an authorised transit site available in the borough will mean the police can use powers to evict travellers who camp illegally on private or public land. They would then be required to use the availablesite or leave the borough. Having managed sites can reduce problems with associated anti-social behaviour and limit the detrimental effects on travelling communities' health, education and well-being.

The Cabinet meeting on 12th October will be formally asked to agree to public consultation, not to form a view for or against any particular site. If Members approve the consultation, local residents, businesses, interest groups and travelling communities will be invited to find out more and have their say on the potential site options for each area. A series of public exhibitions is planned, supported by an online questionnaire and comments form.

The documents relating to the specific sites and the public consultation will be available to the public on Friday 30th September, via the Council's website, as part of the Local Development Framework Steering Committee's agenda paper.

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