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Selby gets more say on traveller sites.


6:49am 22nd March 2011

The Prime Minister has confirmed Government rules about new travellers’ sites are to change – sparking fresh calls for proposals in the Selby district to be scrapped.

The controversial issue was taken to the heart of Government yesterday by Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams, as local opposition to the possibility of pitches being sited near residents’ homes gathered pace.

The original list of potential sites included 60 locations across the district, although Mr Adams said this had now been whittled down to about 45.

The list includes Brayton, Eggborough, Kellington and Hemingbrough, with a consultation by Selby District Council set to end next week.

But the proposals have sparked a wave of objections, and Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday responded to a question by Mr Adams in the House of Commons by saying previous targets for the number of sites which need to be provided are to be abolished.

With the Government now set to draw up a new framework for deciding on how extra accommodation for travellers is provided.

Mr Adams said:

“The council should now be abandoning this process.

“If the Government is to hold a consultation on establishing a new methodology for determining how many pitches are needed, why not wait until this finishes rather than causing an awful lot of undue stress to residents?

“Public meetings I have attended have shown the strength of feeling on this issue and I am very pleased the Prime Minister has confirmed the targets set by the previous Government, which are currently in existence, are to be abolished.

“People are concerned about this scattergun approach and some of the sites identified in Selby district are clearly unsuitable, so why on earth have they been put forward?”

Travellers have earmarked a shortage of pitches in the district as a problem, leaving people to camp at roadsides, and have urged residents not to hold negative views about their community. Council leader Mark Crane said he would wait to receive a letter from Mr Adams outlining the MP’s views, as well as more information from the Government, before commenting.

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