Extra gipsy plots needed in East

PLANS to provide spaces for at least 1,200 extra gipsy caravans in East Anglia, some of which will be allocated to Suffolk and Essex, have gone out to public consultation.

PLANS to provide spaces for at least 1,200 extra gipsy caravans in East Anglia, some of which will be allocated to Suffolk and Essex, have gone out to public consultation.

The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) is looking for ways to tackle the growing problem of travellers setting up illegal camps in the region because of a shortage of official sites.

According to the latest government research, another 1,220 caravan pitches for gipsies and travellers are needed in the east before 2011.

EERA is now considering two options to address the problem: setting up new camps where need is greatest - the majority of which are in Basildon, Chelmsford, Fenland and South Cambridgeshire - or setting up at least 15 new pitches in each local authority area in the region.


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Option one would allocate 100 extra caravan pitches to Suffolk, while option two would see this rise to 137.

Meanwhile in Essex the first option would lead to 437 extra caravan pitches and the second an additional 405.

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John Reynolds, chairman of EERA's regional planning panel, said: “Increasing the availability of legal caravan pitches will provide suitable places for gipsies and travellers to live and help tackle the problem of unauthorised sites, now and in years to come.

“This public consultation is a real chance for everyone in the settled and travelling communities in the east of England to learn more about the options on the table and to have their say on the number and distribution of these additional pitches.”

EERA will publish its proposal for the number of pitches required in the winter of 2007/8 before the plans are finally determined by the government in 2009.

To view a copy of the consultation document or to comment on the proposals visit www.eera.gov.uk .

Public information events on the plans are being held at Endeavour House, Ipswich, at 7pm on May 29 and at Essex Records Office, Chelmsford, at 7pm on June 5.

All responses must be submitted to EERA by 5pm on Tuesday July 31.

How the options would affect Suffolk and Essex

Local authority Estimated caravan pitches 2006 Extra pitches Extra pitches

(authorised and un-authorised) Option 1 Option 2

Suffolk

Babergh 0 0 15

Forest Heath 44 18 18

Ipswich 51 20 20

Mid-Suffolk 64 39 39

St Edmundsbury 4 15 15

Suffolk Coastal 0 0 15

Waveney 19 8 15

Essex

Braintree 30 15 15

Chelmsford 131 87 52

Colchester 11 6 15

Maldon 32 13 15

Tendring 2 2 15

Uttlesford 31 12 15

Source: Department of Communities and Local Government

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