We recognise and understand that there are concerns from individuals and the local community collectively in respect of any proposals to develop a permanent Traveller site. We are committed to consulting with those people and communities as well as with the specific Traveller families to whom we have a statutory homelessness duty.
Following our last unsuccessful attempt to secure the development of a permanent site on Council owned land in Tansley, in May last year we published a call for sites, inviting private landowners to submit expressions of interest to sell land or enter into a long lease for a site.
Following this appeal, an expression of interest was received in June 2022 from a landowner in the parish of Callow.
At the present time no agreement has been reached with the landowner in respect of the purchase or lease of the site and this remains subject to confidential negotiation between the Council and the landowner.
We are however carrying out our commitment to check if this site meets our stated requirements, while developing detailed designs for the site and undertaking all relevant searches.
We remain committed to undertaking consultation on the proposals and any and all interested parties or stakeholders will be able to have their say and make their views known to us.
Officers are currently preparing a report for consideration by the Council at its meeting on 16 March. No action will be taken to develop a permanent Traveller site until that meeting makes a decision. The report to the meeting will set out the consultation processes.
If councillors agree this site should be taken forward, a planning application will need to be submitted for assessment by a Planning Officer who will make an impartial and independent recommendation based on their professional expertise to the Planning Committee, which will be required to determine the application before any further action can be taken.
All interested parties and stakeholders will be able to respond to the statutory consultation in respect of any future planning application and there will be opportunities to address the Planning Committee directly in line with our procedures that encourage public participation.
Following determination of the planning application - either way - Council will need to make a decision on how to proceed and again there will be an opportunity for interested parties and stakeholders to submit their views.