Council’s traveller consideration is ‘too late’

Councillor Paul Foster
Councillor Paul Foster

South Ribble Council, which is under pressure to consider providing sites for gypsies and travellers in the borough, has been accused of doing ‘far too little too late’.

As recently reported in the Guardian, a government planning inspector has raised concerns about South Ribble Council’s reluctance to earmark provision for travelling communities in its housing plans for the future, saying its evidence is outdated.

The opposition Labour party spoke out about the Conservatives’ decision to omit gypsy and traveller sites from its development plans at a full council meeting last night.

Coun Paul Foster said: “For this group, this is far too little too late.

“We have been trying to sort this out for years, but this council has always been reluctant to provide sites in South Ribble.

“Something is only being done now because they’ve had their hands slapped by the planning inspector, and we don’t think it’s good enough.”

Labour’s leader, Coun Matthew Tomlinson, said: “The fact is that travellers do exist and they have to be catered for, because if they’re not, they could just turn up on our parks and car parks.”

Inspector Susan Heywood has requested that the council carries out more work with Preston and Chorley councils on a joint Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment.

The council’s leader, Coun Margaret Smith, said: “We have taken on board all of the recommendations put forward by the planning inspector.”

- To read the Guardian’s full report about this issue, Click here