More time to object over gypsy site

Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher addresses the audience while Hart Village Parish Council chairman John Littlefair and Damien Wilson, the council's assistant director of regeneration, look on.

Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher addresses the audience while Hart Village Parish Council chairman John Littlefair and Damien Wilson, the council's assistant director of regeneration, look on.

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RESIDENTS bidding to fight a planned gyspy site on their doorstep now have until early next month to lodge their objections.

People living in Hart Village and the surrounding areas can contact Jim Riddle, programme officer for the inquiry, into a planned gypsy site in Hart.

Confusion arose over the deadline for people to lodge their objections to Government Planning Inspector Kevin Ward during the public meeting at Hart Village Hall on Wednesday after Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “Information has to be submitted by August 18”.

He had added that his officers would be available to help advise people on what criteria they can object against.

But Mr Riddle, who is employed by Hartlepool Borough Council to be a neutral arbitrator for the inquiry, said people actually have until the first week in September.

He said: “The date for submissions to myself is not set yet, it will be around September 4 or 5, it’s usually around three weeks before the meeting with the planning inspector.

“It’s not a deadline that’s come from me or the inspector and we are working to a separate timetable, maybe it was pertinent for the council.”

He added: “The only advice I can give to residents is I will be writing to all the legitimate objectors and setting out the deadline.

“If they have anything further to say to back up their argument that’s the time to do so.”

Hart Village Parish Council held another private meeting, on Thursday night, in which they set about planning their next step in fighting the move.

Chairman John Littlefair said the parish council is looking at all the information coming forward and is seeking what advice is available.

“We are looking at how we go forward as far as a legal challenge is concerned,” he added.

“We are looking at the information and help given to us and at which way we are going to go.

“We still think the decision is a flawed one.
“In the documentation that was given to the council’s finance and policy committee, the two sites at Hart Village were right at the bottom of every category.”

Mr Littlefair added: “The deadline is not a deadline as far as the inspector is concerned, he will accept any observations up until early September.
“Anyone can make representations and as a parish council we will be making representations.”

A borough council spokesman said: “Tomorrow is the cut-off date for the council to inform the Planning Inspector of its preferred gypsy and traveller site.

“However, individuals or other organisations have until early September to make written representations.”

People can send their views to Mr Riddle by emailing jimriddle@tiscali.co.uk or by writing to him c/o Planning Services, Hartlepool Borough Council, Bryan Hanson House, Hanson Square, TS24 9BT.