A POLITICAL group has raised concerns over the shortlist of potential gypsy and traveller sites in Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Borough Council launched a consultation after a public inspection into Hartlepool’s Local Plan was halted by government inspector Kevin Ward who asked for further work to find an appropriate site.
But the Hartlepool Conservative Future (CF) group, which aims to involve young people in politics, has hit out at the 13-strong shortlist of council-owned sites.
Chairman Shane Moore said: “Whilst I appreciate the council is legally bound to provide a suitable site for the gypsy and traveller community I cannot help but share serious concerns held by residents who live next door to these proposed sites who fear that it will have a detrimental effect on property prices, visual impact, insurance premiums and potentially an increase in crime.”
Mr Moore added: “We will have petitions located in local amenities close to the named areas and we will be encouraging as many residents as possible to attend the public consultation meetings and to speak to your local councillors to have your opinions heard.”
The sites are land at West View Road, Throston Grange Lane, two areas in Burbank Street Burbank Street, Catcote Road/Macaulay Road, Wiltshire Way, Old Cemetery Road, Lennox Walk/Owton Manor Lane, Masefield Road/Gulliver Road, Hart Smallholdings East and West, near Hart village, and Summerhill, off Catcote Road.
The consultation started at Brierton Community Sports Centre, in Brierton Lane, today, between 4pm and 7pm.
A council spokesman said the government insists the council must provide some limited gypsy and traveller provision as part of the Local Plan.
The spokesman added: “As a result we have shortlisted 13 areas of council land for consideration and have started an eight-week consultation process to seek people’s views on which is the most appropriate site.
“Only one site or a combination of two small sites will be needed to meet the requirement for between six and ten traveller pitches and the inclusion of a site on the shortlist does not mean that it will definitely be developed.
“The whole purpose of the consultation is to encourage local people to express their views to help influence the decision-making process.”
All responses must be submitted in writing to: Planning Policy, Hartlepool Borough Council, Bryan Hanson House, Hanson Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7BT by June 27.