Travellers Sites should be based on local need

Updated: 26 July 2007

The Government is demanding that local authorities provide extra sites for gypsies and travellers

The Government is demanding that local authorities provide extra sites for gypsies and travellers.

Herts County Council, Dacorum, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers and Watford commissioned the Scott-Wilson Report, which suggested a long list of sites. Three Rivers has rejected this report.

This rejection has been fully justified by the different regional approach, which is to suggest two options. Option One is provision based on local need, which would mean Three Rivers must provide two additional pitches. Option Two is to spread provision regardless of proven need, which would require fifteen pitches in Three Rivers.

Cabinet Member Councillor Martin Trevett, said:

"Three Rivers strongly supports Option One, that provision should be based on local need. Expecting the traveller community to shift around the region to meet bureaucratic requirements is neither workable nor feasible. There is no evidence to suggest this would work and it would be outrageous if the Region imposed this on districts such as Three Rivers."

The District Council's magazine, Three Rivers Times, recently informed residents about the situation and made a commitment to inform and consult, to take into account the rights of all residents, not just the travellers and to maintain a tough stance on illegal encampments.

The District Council accepts that it must comply with the law, the alternative would be to have unsuitable sites forced through by the Government.

Three Rivers has not made any decisions on possible sites. There is plenty of time to identify sites and carry out a full local consultation. This process will start next year, with preferred sites being identified in 2009. The Government time scale requires sites to be in place by 2011.