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Suffolk consults on potential stopping sites for travellers

Latest news from the Bury Free Press

Latest news from the Bury Free Press

People are being asked to give their views to help select three official Gypsy and Traveller stopping sites in Suffolk.

A six week consultation has begun aiming to chose three from seven suggested sites.

An umbrella group representing councils, police and health organisations has launched this with a view to solvng the problem of unauthorised encampments.

Suffolk has seen 210 of these since 2007 with several occurring in Bury St Edmunds.

The suggested sites are at the former LIttle Chef site at Kentford, between Bury Road and the A14, the former Chippings Dump, Upthorpe Road, Stanton, the layby off the A143 opposite Shepherds Lane, Wortham, land between Candlet Road and Treetops, Felixstowe, the layby on Felixstowe Road, Levington, south of the junction with Bridge Road, the former Little Chef site off the A14 by the Orwell Bridge and the A140 junction with Castleton Way, Eye.

A short stay stopping site is a permanent site for temporary use only whose length of stay can range between 28 days and three months. Users pay rent for their pitches. There are no such sites in Suffolk at present.

Speaking on behalf of Suffolk’s eight council leaders Tim Passmore. police and crime commissioner said: “The issue of unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments is well known in Suffolk and we need to find a long term solution to it.

“When unauthorised encampments appear, local authorities work together to move them on. However, with no long term solution in place, it is unclear where such encampments will appear next.

“Other counties have short stay stopping sites and these offer the travelling community a proper alternative to unauthorised encampments.

“It’s important that everyone who wants to gets a real say in this, which is why we are inviting members of the public to give comments.”

Cliff Codona, chairman of the National Traveller Action Group said: “We estimate that there some 1,000 Gypsies and Travellers in Suffolk – many of which are good citizens living in houses, paying their taxes and sending their children to local schools.

“But those that want to travel struggle to find legal, legitimate and safe places to stop which is why short stay sites are needed.

“I speak to travelling families every day and I know that facilities like these – where families pay rent and respect the surroundings – are what they want and will help to reduce the number of unauthorised encampments.”

There will be public drop in sessions on September 8 at Mid Suffolk Council Chamber, Needham Market, at Stanton Village Hall on Wednesday September 10 and the Millennium Centre, Red Lodge on September 12 all between 2pm and 8pm.

Other sessions will be held at Bucklesham and Eye.

For more on the consultation go to www.suffolk.gov.uk

 

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