New pitches for gypsy and traveller site

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 August 2014

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TWO additional pitches will be created at a gypsy and traveller site in Weston despite objections from people who live there.

North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee approved the plans for Willowmead in Moor Lane on August 13.

People living on the site submitted letters of objection owing to the loss of trees, increased parking problems and additional overlooking from neighbours.

Ward councillor Catherine Gibbons said: “There are a number of issues with these plans. The residents say themselves they do not want the pitches.

“It is important with a successful site to do everything to protect it.

“They have been subjected to abuse and hostility in the past, but this site works. People are happy and neighbours are happy.

“We don’t want to do anything to cause upset or to have situation like we have had in the past, neither the residents nor householders in the area.

“We risk an awful lot by just going in and doing this for the sake of two pitches. We have granted permission for a site in Winterstoke Road and had very few pitch applications for that.

“Residents of Willowmead are saying why not build that one first?

“I know we have an obligation to provide pitches, but also to protect them and their way of life wherever possible.”

Deputy council leader Elfan Ap-Rees said the two pitches would contribute to North Somerset’s requirements to find 60 by the end of 2016.

He said: “The whole purpose is to try to reduce overcrowding on the site. We had health and safety issues there.

“Houses in Weston change hands, and you can’t choose your neighbours.

“But because this site is managed by Elim Housing for us, we have got control over who moves in and that they behave themselves and are harmonious with neighbours.”

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