Consultation on proposed Gypsy and Traveller pitches in Chesterfield given go-ahead

Councillors have approved plans for a six-week consultation on two potential Gypsy and Traveller pitches in Chesterfield.

Friday, 9th February 2018, 10:14 am
Updated Friday, 9th February 2018, 10:25 am
A group of travellers at Chesterfield's Queen's Park north car park last summer.

Chesterfield Borough Council has shortlisted six sites in the area and two of these could eventually be used as locations for the pitches. A total of 40 sites were rejected for consideration. This video produced by the borough council explains more.

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At a meeting this morning, the authority's cabinet approved a public consultation on the plans so people can have their say.

The consultation will be available at from Monday, February 12.

Details of drop-in sessions will also be available from this date.

Paper copies will be available at the council’s customer service centre in New Square or Chesterfield library on Beetwell Street.

Alternatively, written comments can be sent to Strategic Planning and Key Sites, Town Hall, Rose Hill, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40 1LP.

Councillor Terry Gilby, the borough council's cabinet member for economic growth, explained: "The Government requires us to find out what the need is for Gypsy and Traveller pitches in the borough and find sites to meet that need.

"Our requirement is for four permanent pitches for Gypsies and Travellers in the borough.

"Two of these have already been provided meaning two further pitches are required.

"Our cabinet approved holding a public consultation on the six site options that have been identified and we would encourage residents to take part and give their views.

"This will be the first of several stages of public consultation and involvement before a final decision is made.

"Following the consultation we may identify one or two sites to put forward as proposed Gypsy and Traveller pitches in a new Local Plan.

"This will then be examined at a public inquiry by an independent planning inspector where the public will be able to give their views.

"Any site would also require planning permission, which would also involve a public consultation before a decision is made.

"By identifying new pitches where Gypsies and Travellers can stay legally, the Government hopes the number of illegal encampments can be reduced, which can cause disruption to local residents and cost taxpayers’ money to clean up sites that have been used."

According to the authority, pitch sizes can vary from 500 to 2,000 square metres and must be capable of containing a single-storey building, parking space for two vehicles, a large trailer and touring caravan and a small garden area where families can stay on a long-term basis. Gypsies and Travellers staying on sites of this type would be required to pay council tax and other utility bills as any other property in the area.

The borough council states that all potential sites are assessed against a range of criteria to test their suitability including their size, accessibility to local services, road safety and accessibility issues and the impact a site may have on neighbouring properties or greenbelt or countryside areas.