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Gipsy site plans to be reconsidered

PUBLISHED: 09:46 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 07:51 01 August 2010

SOUTH Norfolk Council has approved recommendations to take forward plans for permanent gipsy and travellers sites in Earsham and Wymondham.

The council has agreed to take a fresh look at controversial proposals for permanent sites after an initial six-week consultation resulted in more than 1,000 responses including two protest petitions from worried residents.

SOUTH Norfolk Council has approved recommendations to take forward plans for permanent gipsy and travellers sites in Earsham and Wymondham.

The council has agreed to take a fresh look at controversial proposals for permanent sites after an initial six-week consultation resulted in more than 1,000 responses including two protest petitions from worried residents.

South Norfolk Council's gipsy and traveller working group has produced a report making a number of recommendations that went before the authority's cabinet for approval on Friday.

These include proposed changes in the criteria used when assessing potential sites and the reassessment of those already identified.

The working group accepted that the effect of potential sites on residential and visual amenities of dwellings in the vicinity should be moved into the “essential” category and should apply to nearby housing instead of just properties adjoining the sites.

The history of any current or previous occupations of the sites by gipsies and travellers should also be taken into account.

At present the search for suitable locations has been concentrated in areas within the A47, A11 and A143/ A1066 corridors and the group does not consider this should be extended to other main routes or remote areas.

A new public consultation on potential gipsy and travellers sites in south Norfolk is likely to start in March 2009.

The cabinet agreed to amend the wording of the checklist of criteria for selecting land and the other recommendations put before them.

The meeting came a day after a total of £1.3m in funding was announced by the government for authorised gypsy and traveller sites in the east of England. News that South Norfolk Council is to receive £200,000 for its scheme to create new facilities has been warmly welcomed by Derek Blake, the council's cabinet member for planning, housing and the built environment.

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