‘No easy sites left’ for gypsy and traveller pitches

The A281 Guildford Road east of Rudgwick where the Smithers Rough site is proposed for gypsy and traveller pitches (photo from Google Maps)
The A281 Guildford Road east of Rudgwick where the Smithers Rough site is proposed for gypsy and traveller pitches (photo from Google Maps)

A public consultation on the location of future gypsy and traveller sites across the Horsham district opened today (Friday December 1).

Horsham District Council has to put together a policy both to meet the backlog of sites and meet the needs for the next 15 years, and held a consultation on 13 potential locations between April and June.

As a result two sites in Storrington, one near Pulborough, and another near Billingshurst have all been dropped, while a new location at the former Bromeliad Nursery in Marringdean Road, Billingshurst, has been included for 15 pitches.

The revised draft Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Document Preferred Strategy was approved for another eight-week consultation by HDC’s Cabinet last week.

Chris Lyons, HDC’s director for planning, economic development and property, said: “The reality is there are no easy sites left. Any of the sites we are looking at have issues that need to be considered.”

Several speakers raised concerns about the continued inclusion of the Smithers Rough site in Rudgwick due to road safety issues with any proposed access.

Officers explained that further work was needed to show a safe access could be achieved, with the results made available during the consultation process.

Philip Circus cabinet member for waste, recycling, and cleansing, said: “This is a genuine consultation and if there are issues that make it impossible to go ahead with the plan then frankly it will not go ahead, but we are in a position where we have to go ahead and take seriously our statutory obligation to come up with a site allocation policy.”

What do you think? Email the newsdesk.

To comment on the consultation visit the council’s website.