Fury over new travellers' site plan

By Roddy AshworthCONSULTANTS have revealed their recommendation for the controversial site of a borough's new travellers' site.CDN Planning has selected land east of Severalls Lane in Colchester as its recommended location for the site.

By Roddy Ashworth

CONSULTANTS have revealed their recommendation for the controversial site of a borough's new travellers' site.

CDN Planning has selected land east of Severalls Lane in Colchester as its recommended location for the site.

It was brought in to evaluate a number of proposed sites and published its findings in a Colchester Borough Council cabinet agenda yesterday.

The document, which follows 18 months of grappling with the controversial issue of where to build the new travellers' site, contains a strongly-worded report from council officers.

They warned: “The engagement of independent consultants who possess the technical expertise and impartiality to undertake the site assessment exercise was intended to ensure that the cabinet was never placed in a position where it could be perceived as exercising any form of bias or prejudice in a technical process.

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“The cabinet would therefore need to have firm grounds to reject the recommendation on technical issues if it were to adopt this course, and no firm grounds are felt to exist.”

Beverley Oxford, a borough councillor for Highwoods, in whose ward the travellers' site would be built, said: “We are not happy.

“People on the Severalls business park, who we've been closely working with, are extremely upset and some businesses have threatened to leave.

“They say most of the staff won't go with them and so that means a lot of people on Highwoods would lose their jobs.”

She added: “A lot of people here are worried about their property values. They are worried about crime, schools and anti-social behaviour.

“It's how people feel and we are supposed to be a democracy - they should listen to peoples' views.”

The council's cabinet will make a decision about the new travellers' site, needed to replace the previous site at the Hythe in Colchester, on September 8.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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