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Suffolk: Consultation over short-stay traveller sites is abandoned after huge opposition just days after it was announced

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 August 2014

Travellers set up camp in Langer Park, Felixstowe, in June this year

Travellers set up camp in Langer Park, Felixstowe, in June this year

Archant

Consultation over controversial gypsy and travellers’ stopping sites in Suffolk was suddenly abandoned yesterday after council chiefs were deluged with protests.

Officials said in addition to the public feedback, they had received several offers of land from landowners for sites and also many other suggestions of potential temporary sites, all of which need to be fully assessed.

MPs, councillors and residents had objected to the sites put forward jointly by county and district councils and police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore.

The most controversial was at Felixstowe, where a site was suggested on a small council-owned meadow opposite homes in Treetops. Residents launched a petition, the town council called an extraordinary meeting – now cancelled – and insisted consultation sessions were held in the town.

A spokesman for the eight councils and Mr Passmore said the aim had been to select three sites in areas where unauthorised encampments usually occur.

However, following a number of landowners coming forward with other potential sites and early feedback from councillors and residents, Suffolk’s council and policing leaders had decided to halt the current process to enable it to be reconsidered.

It means the seven sites previously identified have therefore been dropped and a fresh list of sites will be worked on prior to public consultation.

The potential sites were:

Lay-by off A143 opposite Shepherds Lane, Wortham

Land between Candlet Road and Treetops, Felixstowe

Lay-by on Felixstowe Road, Levington, south of junction with Bridge Road

Former Little Chef site, Kentford, between Bury Road and A14

Former Chippings Dump, Upthorpe Road, Stanton

Former Little Chef site, off A14 by the Orwell Bridge

And the A140 junction with Castleton Way, Eye.

Suffolk County Council’s leader Mark Bee, speaking for everyone involved in the project, said: “The case for creating short stay stopping sites has been well established and we’ve found a great deal of general support for what we, as public sector bodies in Suffolk, are trying to do to help solve the issue of unauthorised encampments in Suffolk.

“But what’s more important is making sure we have the right sites to consult the public on.

“A number of alternative proposals have been put forward and, in the interest of making the best decisions for Suffolk, they need to be looked at. That is why we’ve taken the early decision to stop the current consultation today and develop a fresh approach.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do to ensure we make the right decisions for Suffolk. We’re committed to working with all partners and communities to take this issue forward.”

All councillor briefings, public drop-in sessions and public meetings organised by Suffolk County Council to support the consultation have been cancelled.

No timescales have been set for when a new consultation will be launched.

A man is to be sentenced next month after admitting beating up his ex-partner on her birthday and then harassing her.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is seeking witnesses to an incident in Ipswich, after a man sustained a broken ankle when he was hit by a Suffolk Constabulary police officer’s car.

A former heart patient who owes his life to West Suffolk Hospital has backed the £500,000 Every Heart Matters appeal to build a brand new cardiac diagnostic unit in Bury St Edmunds.

A historic west Suffolk town is set to see the return of its market next month after an absence of 20 years.

An Ipswich man who threw a brick through a window at his former girlfriend’s home after their relationship ended has been jailed for six months.

Witnesses to a crash in an Ipswich retail park, which has left an eight-year-old girl in hospital, are being asked to come forward.

A coroner has expressed concern that staff at a Suffolk holiday park are yet to be health and safety trained – more than 12 months after a girl drowned there.

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