New twist to hunt for travellers' site

By Roddy AshworthA COUNCIL is being asked to spend another £8,000 on rehiring a firm of consultants to reconsider its report on finding a new travellers' site.

By Roddy Ashworth

A COUNCIL is being asked to spend another £8,000 on rehiring a firm of consultants to reconsider its report on finding a new travellers' site.

Colchester Borough Council's cabinet has been recommended to ask the consultants to look again at the criteria they used for selecting possible locations for the travellers' site.

The move comes after a group of councillors “called in” a cabinet decision to back the method of choosing a site, which was proposed by consultants CDN Planning.


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Their considerations in selecting possible locations included how far a new site would be from a dual carriageway, how close it would be to shops and whether it would fall in an area earmarked for regeneration.

Colchester Borough Council originally hired the consultants after attempts to find a method of locating the travellers' site resulted in political deadlock.

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But after a meeting of the council's overview and scrutiny panel last month, which hundreds of residents attended, members recommended the cabinet should reconsider its decision.

Although not following the panel's recommendations to the letter, a proposal backed by Liberal Democrat councillor Terry Sutton will see the consultants rehired to go back over their criteria with the council's travellers committee.

As a result, a report to be presented to the cabinet tomorrow recommends about £8,000 should be spent to bring the consultants back.

“I would be surprised if any major changes are made. However, I have not been involved in drawing up the criteria in the first place, so I cannot categorically state that,” said Mr Sutton.

“It is a frustrating process, but it is a democratic process and democracy costs money. I feel the first report from the consultants was fine, but I am listening to the public and the councillors on the overview and scrutiny panel.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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