Identifying traveller sites

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I WRITE with more information following the news story in the County Times (June 23) about Horsham District Council using consultants to find gipsy and traveller sites.

Work began in earnest this week to begin the process of identifying possible suitable sites for local gypsies and travellers.

Horsham District Council has appointed planning consultants, Baker Associates, now part of Peter Brett Associates LLP, to head up this work as they are able to bring not only experience of similar projects but also an element of impartiality.

This specialist and independent view is considered essential if the findings are to gain support of the district’s settled and travelling communities.

Work started with a workshop for district and parish councillors. During the two hour session, Government planning policy and the background to the work were explained and councillors were asked to consider what they thought would make a good site.

Ensuring the involvement of local communities from the outset is considered key to this work and feedback from the session was positive.

The consultants have also begun contacting landowners with a view to finding available sites.

Anyone who may know of a possible site is encouraged to contact either Sharon Jefferies, Baker Associates, The Crescent Centre, Temple Back, Bristol, BS1 6EZ (email: sjefferies@bakerassocs.com) or Sally Stallan, Strategic Planning, Horsham District Council, Park North, Horsham, RH12 1RL (email: sally.stallan@horsham.gov.uk).

It would be helpful if responses were received by July 8, 2011.

Site survey work and assessment will be ongoing through the summer. A final report is expected from the consultants this autumn.

IAN HOWARD

(Con, Southwater) Cabinet member for living and working communities, Horsham District Council

North Street, Horsham