'Site is inadequate for gypsy pitches' - councillor

PUBLISHED: 19:11 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:49 26 October 2009

Bulls Lane south in Bell Bar: recommended site in Welwyn Hatfield for 17 gypsy pitches

Bulls Lane south in Bell Bar: recommended site in Welwyn Hatfield for 17 gypsy pitches

SEVENTEEN additional travellers' pitches must be provided in Welwyn Hatfield by 2011, an independent body has recommended. In a report published yesterday (Thursday), the panel, which was set up by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), decided the

Cllr Keith Pieri

SEVENTEEN additional travellers' pitches must be provided in Welwyn Hatfield by 2011, an independent body has recommended.

In a report published yesterday (Thursday), the panel, which was set up by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), decided the number would be a 'fair' allocation for the district.

In reaching this conclusion, the panel also dismissed representations from Welwyn Hatfield Council that some of this need could be redistributed to East Hertfordshire.

The borough currently has 51 pitches and a site in Bulls Lane south, Bell Bar, has been identified as a potential location to house the extra caravans.

But borough councillor Keith Pieri, whose ward includes the proposed site, is not happy with the report's recommendations.

Cllr Pieri described the borough's allocation as "extremely large".

He said: "I think Welwyn Hatfield has done its bit in the past.

"It isn't a case that we are anti-traveller, it is a case that we (already) have enough pitches in our borough.

"We have sufficient pitches and I think they should be looking elsewhere."

He added: "The site is totally inadequate - the road is too narrow, there is no lighting and they are not near a school or any shops.

"We just haven't got the facilities for them."

The report, which also recommended 18 extra pitches in Hertsmere, will now be considered by Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears.

A final decision on the allocations is expected to be taken in the summer.

To view the panel's report in full, visit www.gos.gov.uk/goeast/planning/regional_planning

FACTFILE

* Under EERA plans, the eastern region is expected to deliver 1,187 extra pitches by 2011.

* The independent review calls for an extra 50 on top of that.

* There are currently 244 authorised pitches in Hertfordshire, and under the same plans, a further 176 will need to be provided by 2011.

* St Albans currently has the largest number of pitches (52), closely followed by Welwyn Hatfield with 51.

* By 2011, as confirmed by the independent panel, there needs to be a total of 68 pitches in Welwyn Hatfield.


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