Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 14th February 2008
Title of Item/Report
Report of Housing and Community Safety Select Committee - Traveller Transit Site Selection
Record of the Decision
Members considered a report that presented the findings of the work of the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee in relation to the Cabinet referral concerning the selection of a Traveller Transit Site.

Following a referral from Cabinet at a meeting of 25 October 2007, and confirmation by Executive Scrutiny Committee, the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee had undertaken a piece of work in order to identify a preferred location for a Gypsy and Traveller Transit Site within the Borough.

It was noted that Cabinet made the policy decision to establish a Travellers Transit Site at a meeting of 6 October 2005. The decision was made subject to the availability of 100% Government grant funding, and was made following a marked increase in Traveller activity within the Borough and the continued cost of dealing with unauthorised encampments.

It was advised that the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee had identified land adjacent to Bowesfield Pumping Station as the only option to go forward for consultation. It was explained that the site had the least issues identified during the site survey process. All other sites had significant issues, for example, they were outside the limits of development, within a Green Wedge or allocated for another use.

It was explained that preliminary consultation had been carried out on the option of Bowesfield Pumping Station within the timescale available in order to gain the initial views of interested parties.

The majority of responses (where they addressed the question of location) were negative. Members were provided with a detailed summary of the consultation responses.

It was indicated that whilst the Committee were mindful that a proposal of this nature might always encounter a measure of opposition, the Committee recognised the overwhelming concerns raised during the consultation process, in particular, issues arising from the close proximity to the Mount Pleasant residential site and, in light of these, felt that the Bowesfield Pumping Station site was not suitable for a Travellers Transit site. The Committee concluded that it was not possible to identify suitable land currently within Council ownership and considered that the terms of reference should be widened.

RESOLVED that:-

1. Cabinet noted that the Committee did not consider there to be any suitable locations within Council ownership for a Travellers Transit Site

2. The terms of reference for any future investigation of a suitable location be widened to include the identification of sites outside Council ownership

3. Officers complete further consultation with the travelling community and national organisations to assist with identification of possible suitable locations.

4. Officers complete a further search of possible suitable transit sites (not limited to being within the Council's ownership) and assess them against appropriate criteria.

5. Officers report back to Cabinet in June 2008.
Reasons for the Decision
Following a referral from Cabinet at a meeting of 25 October 2007, and confirmation by Executive Scrutiny Committee, the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee have undertaken a piece of work in order to identify a preferred location for a Gypsy and Traveller Transit Site within the Borough.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
None
Details of any Dispensations
Not Applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
By no later than midnight on Friday 22nd February 2008
Attachment

Date of Publication: 18 February 2008


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