Residents call for parish backing

FEARFUL and furious residents have called for an entire town's parishes to back them in a show of solidarity over the possible siting of permanent travellers' pitches near their homes.

FEARFUL and furious residents have called for an entire town's parishes to back them in a show of solidarity over the possible siting of permanent travellers' pitches near their homes.

The call was made at a packed public meeting in Mile End, Colchester, where people voiced their anger over the "protracted" process to find a site.

Colchester Borough Council is legally obliged to provide one travellers' site somewhere within its boundaries and has been trying to find the best place for both users and residents.

The public meeting at the Methodist Church Hall in Nayland Road on Wednesday came just a day after the borough council's overview and scrutiny panel decided to ask its ruling cabinet to reconsider the way private consultants had drawn up three alternatives for the new site.


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Mile End residents expressed their anger and frustration all three locations had been earmarked for the north of the town away from the old travellers' site in the Hythe.

One councillor criticised the process by which private planning consultants CDN Planning Ltd drew up criteria to score each site – two near Severalls Lane and one at Ardleigh Cross.

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Myland Parish Council vice chairman Patrick Mills said he believed consultants' efforts had been a "rush job" and the borough council was mainly to blame.

He said it was time to take the initiative and called for the borough's parish councils to present a united front.

He said: "If all the parishes in the borough get together in a concerted manner and put to the council that they have a perfectly reasonable site already in the Hythe, then they might reconsider.

"If we appoint a solicitor and share the cost between all the parish councils that could work."

Myland parish councillor Robert Johnstone, chairing the noisy meeting, said: "I think the criteria used was biased towards choosing a rural site away from the Hythe area where the travellers used to be."

However, despite general approval from the floor there were some doubts about the idea.

Luisa White said she worried that Myland Parish Council would end up footing the bill itself.

"The other councils will just say 'It doesn't bother us, folks' because the site will not be near them," she said.

The borough council's cabinet is due to consider the overview and scrutiny panel's recommendation on September 3.

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