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Anger at new travellers' site plan

PUBLISHED: 06:56 12 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a travellers' site beside a key road in Essex have been slammed by residents as a danger to drivers.

Tendring District Council has been asked to find a suitable location in the district as a short-term stopping area for travellers.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a travellers' site beside a key road in Essex have been slammed by residents as a danger to drivers.

Tendring District Council has been asked to find a suitable location in the district as a short-term stopping area for travellers.

But the only site currently being considered is an unused road at Pelham's Corner on the A120 at Horsley Cross near Harwich – news which has angered local people.

It would be a permanent site, but could only be used by groups of travellers as a temporary base before they have to move on.

Over the past few years, the county council has been keen to make provision in Tendring for travellers, who have periodically used this particular site.

But Little Bentley Parish Council claims access is dangerous because of its location on a blind bend. Members are concerned that drivers and those using it would be at risk.

Parish councillor James Lancaster said: "Lorries and cars would create a danger for vehicles entering and exiting the site because they would not be able to see fast approaching traffic until it is too late. Given that many travellers' vehicles will be towing sizeable caravans, the danger is further increased.

"Another possible access point is directly off the Horsley Cross roundabout which has been the site of a number of accidents over the last few years despite being specifically built to replace a dangerous crossroads."

In December, Lois (the London to Ipswich Multi Modal Study) recommended the A120 between Hare Green and Harwich be upgraded to a two-lane carriageway at a cost of £49 million. No time scale was given and the East Anglian Daily Times is currently running a hard-hitting campaign calling on the Department of Transport to improve this major trunk road between Harwich and Little Bromley as a priority.

Mr Lancaster added that once the long-term Government plan to dual the A120 was completed, any site would have to close, resulting in a waste of taxpayers' money.

He said: "Having been successful in your campaign to make the road safer by making it dual carriageway, all your hard work would have been undone as an increased danger would have been created."

He also acknowledged there were concerns among residents about the litter and mess which travellers could leave behind.

Michael Talbot, Tendring's portfolio holder for environment issues, said there was a strong case for rejecting the site on the basis of the danger to those who would be using it.

Mr Talbot, who is still considering the viability of the location, said: "Nobody has contacted me to support the suggestion and I will report back an honest answer to the cabinet based on the views I have been hearing.

"The situation is that the site would be a danger on the A120 - if there are travellers with a number of children in the family, what would do you do when a ball rolls out into the road?

"There are so many potential problems – this is just not the right site."

He said he had received a number of letters objecting to the idea because of issues of access for both farmers and landowners.

He will report back to cabinet members at Tendring District Council with his recommendations.

Last night, a spokesman for Essex County Council said it was monitoring developments at Tendring very closely.


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