Plan for permanent gypsy sites outlined

PERMANENT sites for gypsies and travellers could be coming soon to the Rother area.

Councillors on Rother’s services and overview scrutiny committee met on Monday night to discuss a shortlist of 15 possible sites, which officers narrowed down from a potential 850 sites.

Under governmenet legislation, permanent pitches for gypsies and travellers must be provided by local authorities. Rother’s core strategy allows for three permanent pitches from 2011 to 2016 with a further six pitches from 2016 to 2028. The shortlisted pitches were: • land south of Catsfield Road, • Beeches Brook, Battle, • Greenacres Farm, Battle, • Telegraph Point, Coldharbour Farm, Brightling, • land adjacent to Robertsbridge Travellers’ Site, • Cherry Tree Nursery, Flimwell, • Cripps Corner Highway Depot, • Bramble Farm, Ewhurst, • land north of Bramble Farm, Ewhurst, • Chippings Depot, Rye, • Guestling Green Highways Depot, • land south west of Moor Lane, Westfield, • land east of Down Edge, Westfield, • Actons Farm, Buckholt Lane, Bexhill and •a part of a major allocation in Bexhill (north or west) as opened up by the link road once built.

Cllr Ian Jenkins, who has held Rother’s portfolio for travellers since 2006, told hte committee this was a ‘very, very difficult subject’ and proposed Beeches Brook, Greenacres Farm, Telegraph Point, Cherry Tree Nursery and allocation in Bexhill be chosen.

Battle member Cllr Kathryn Field proposed Beeches Brook be removed from the proposal. She said: “I am not in agreement with site two as it gives out the wrong message - you should just build when you feel like it and put in a retrospective application.” The site on Beeches Farm has a permanent home built retrospectively by a traveller.

The committee rejected Cllr Field’s proposal and Cllr Jenkins’ motion was carried. This item is to be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting.