Agenda item

Question and Petition from J.Lowes - Gypsy and Traveller Site on Panshanger


The question that I am asking on behalf of Panshanger Residents is: 


“Will those voting tonight take into account the views of Residents who have concerns about the proposed application for a Gypsy and Traveller Site on Panshanger?


 I would like to submit our petition to the Council – which although only started on Friday last week – has already collected around 300 signatures registering concerns at the proposal to locate a site adjacent to Hillyfield, Panshanger.


Our concerns are that this is an inappropriate location for such a site which would be near to neighbouring residential properties and the local school.


We would like you to consider the issues relating to access to this site.  There will be an increase in the traffic flow which will include commercial vehicles, plant, and machinery.  The carrying of refuse, the burning of rubbish and large animals kept within a housing estate is inappropriate.


Another concern is that this site can only be achieved by the removal of hedgerows.  Hedgerows are important to biodiversity and also provide an important foraging habitat for protected species.

We also have concerns regarding the relationship of the proposed site to the surrounding community, there will be no improvement to community cohesion because the Gypsies and Travellers have no affinity to Panshanger.


On the 'Welwyn Hatfield Needs Assessment document 2016' - Paragraph 8.6:

 "19 Traveller households on the waiting list responded that a pitch on Holwell was their first choice ".


So, Gypsy and Traveller needs are not being taken into account either.


Most concerning is that very few people on Panshanger are aware of this proposal.  The Consultation has closed without residents being aware that a Gypsy and Traveller site was being proposed. “


Answer by the Chairman


“In order for the Plan to be found sound, provision needs to be made to house all our community.


Gypsy and Traveller provision on this site has been subject to consultation on three previous occasions:


•Firstly, in the Emerging Core Strategy 2012, draft policy CS15 set out a requirement for 15 pitches.

 Representations to the draft policy were received from the local community.


•Subsequently, in 2013, the Council carried out a 'Call for Sites, and a number of sites were promoted for Gypsy and Traveller development (including land that forms part of this site). All the sites promoted were assessed for their suitability, availability and deliverability, and the report has been available on the Council's website since 2014.


•Secondly, the Local Plan Consultation in 2015 highlighted that Gypsy and Traveller pitch provision would form part of the delivery on this site. Representations to the draft policy were received from the local community.


•Thirdly, in the Draft Local Plan Proposed Submission 2016, the reduced requirement for 6 pitches (for 6 households) was set out in Table 6 and in Policy SP18.


Consultation Statements set out how comments received at each stage of plan preparation have been taken into account.


The waiting list for a pitch on the Holwell site (or any of the other public sites in Hertfordshire) cannot be met unless additional site provision is made. The waiting list also forms only part of the assessed need.


Like any residential development Gypsy and Traveller pitches need to be located close to services and facilities such as schools.


If provision is not made at the Strategic Development Sites, on a proportionate basis to the scale of the overall development, then there will be a significant shortfall in provision and the plan would be likely to be found unsound. There are no other suitable alternative sites.


The exact position of the 6 pitches has not yet been determined. This will be explored as part of the master planning process.”