VILLAGERS say they are up for the fight ahead of the plans to designate land in their village for a permanent gypsy and traveller site coming under review next week.
The Government’s planning inspector Kevin Ward is to resume his examination into Hartlepool Borough Council’s Local Plan - including the controversial decision to choose Hart Village for the gypsy and traveller site.
Earlier this summer, Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee opted for Hart Smallholdings West, to the west of Hart village, as their preferred site with Hart Smallholdings East the back-up option, in a move which angered villagers and residents of nearby Clavering and Bishop Cuthbert.
That led to Hart Parish Council setting up the Hart, Bishop Cuthbert and Clavering (HBCC) Residents’ Appeal Fund to help cover the legal cost of a judicial review of the decision if the plans are backed by Mr Ward.
John Littlefair, chairman of Hart Parish Council, said the chosen sites are not “sustainable” or “deliverable” and not near local amenities and has called for the decision to be overturned.
Mr Littlefair said: “This will not only impact on the village of Hart but also Clavering and Bishop Cuthbert and we believe the chosen sites are not suitable.
“You can never be confident about how the examination will go but we will be fighting our corner and we have questions over the criteria and how the sites were chosen.”
Earlier this year, the formal examination of the Local Plan was suspended after Mr Ward called on officers to carry out further work to find an appropriate gypsy and traveller site.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher has previously said the site at Hart would only be developed if a demand was identified and that the decision was made after listening to the evidence.
The examination resumes on Tuesday, September 24, at Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street, at 10am, with the gypsy and traveller provision.
Then on Wednesday, September 25 at 10am Mr Ward will discuss the overall housing provision and on Thursday, September 26 at 10am the site allocation at Tunstall Farm.
The meeting will be open to the public and those eligible to speak will receive notification in advance.
Village resident Andrew Dixon is managing the fighting fund on behalf of the residents.
Anyone who wants to contribute is asked to send cash or cheques, (made out to HBCC Residents’ Appeal Fund), to HBCC Residents’ Appeal Fund C/O Andrew Dixon, 3 Magdalene Drive, Hart Village, Hartlepool, TS27 3BU.
Alternatively there is a bank account people can pay straight into called HBBC Residents’ Appeal Fund. The sort code is 40-34-45 and the account number is 11181343.