Protestors at polling stations

PROTESTERS took to the polling stations to mobilise local objections against plans for a new travellers' site.From 7am until booths closed at 10pm yesterday, campaigners leafleted voters in Langham, Ardleighand Boxted, to ensure that Colchester Borough Council knows local residents' views.

PROTESTERS took to the polling stations to mobilise local objections against plans for a new travellers' site.

From 7am until booths closed at 10pm yesterday, campaigners leafleted voters in Langham, Ardleighand Boxted, to ensure that Colchester Borough Council knows local residents' views.

A recent council shortlist for the new council-provided site, lists land west of Severall'sLane; land off Ipswich Road on the Ardleigh/Langham border; and land east of Severall's Lane as possible locations.

All three are within the CO4 postal district and close to where the villagers live.


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Andrew Hardie, of Lodge Lane, Langham, who was handing out leaflets, said: “The council is trying to foist this unwanted and unnecessary site on us. We're trying to mobilise people of all villages to get over their apathy and write in and tell the council their views.

“Once people have voted, we've been handing out leaflets asking people to please read this and act on the information. If they don't, the site will be here for good.”

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Self-employed Mr Hardie, 54, added: “I saw 120 people during my stint this morning, and met only one person who said 'no, I shan't write'. Two even came back with the letters they'd already written.

According to Mr Hardie, the most economical option for the council was to repair the council-owned site at the Hythe.

“The council already has a site at the Hythe but it's been wrecked. It's already got hard standings and connections and renovating that would be much cheaper. They've decided to move the site away because of business interests,” he said.

“Any cost the council incurs in renovating that site carries a 75% grant from government. Another site must be built from scratch.”

Dave Roberts, regeneration projects officer at the council, said: “Colchester Borough Council has already determined over a number of meetings that the site will be relocated from the Haven Road travellers' site at the Hythe. Reasons are many and various and have been covered by cabinet meetings and decisions.

“We are aware there is a grant from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council o officers have previously approached the ODPM regarding our proposals. At this stage, given that we do not have a preferred site for the relocation, we have yet to approach the ODPM again.

“Colchester Borough Council has made strenuous efforts throughout the whole process to consult with all residents and businesses over this relocation.

“We have already received some letters from members of the public which will be taken into account as part of the process.”

The council's consultation period runs from June 22 to July 2. A final recommendation will be made in August for consideration by the cabinet in September.

Residents can write to Dave Roberts at Social and Economic Regeneration, Colchester Borough Council, PO Box 5215, Town Hall, Colchester, CO1 1GG.

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