Travellers 'won't get favours' at new site near Hutton
PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:34 14 September 2013
RESIDENTS were told travellers 'won't be getting any favours' at a proposed new site near Hutton.
At this week’s Hutton Parish Council meeting, residents quizzed ward councillor Elfan Ap Rees about the plans. The proposed new site is on land owned by Network Rail near Old Junction Yard on Winterstoke Road, which may be developed by building company Elim Housing.
The site is not actually in Hutton parish, so the parish council cannot vote on the matter. But it is only a mile from the closest houses in the village.
Residents’ complaints included lack of notification, the close proximity of the site to the parish and the increase in the number of people in the area. One resident suggested the site did not meet Government regulations, claiming it is too close to the railway and is on ‘contaminated’ land.
Cllr Ap Rees said: “As of yet there is no planning application. Usually that is when the consultation begins. Bear in mind this is a local development within an area of Weston, we would not normally expect a developer to consult a huge area when essentially it is just affordable housing.
“It is a residential site, not a transit site, and I must make that clear. They are trying to alleviate the situation where children are growing up with nowhere to go and are overcrowded.
“If you don’t agree to sites like this, like anywhere else there will be a situation where people will move on to a site where they don’t have permission.
“We need to put it in perspective, we are looking at 15 or 20 pitches, with washing and toilet blocks and space to park a vehicle or mobile caravan the same as anyone else would.
“They will be bound by exactly the same regulations as people who live in other houses. They would have to be paying the rent, council tax, will be treated exactly the same as anyone else.”
When one resident remarked ‘what travellers want, travellers get’, the councillor said: “They won’t be getting any favours in that respect, they pay rent like everyone else.
“I have no idea who will be moving into the pitches. Elim Housing has tenants in bricks and mortar too and it’s exactly the same.”
According to Cllr Ap Rees, 71 per cent of travellers asked said they would prefer a site in Weston. Areas such as the airfield and land near Locking Parklands were also considered.
The councillor suggested the application may be put to North Somerset Council later this month.