A Sleaford town councillor has questioned an aspect of the district’s proposed Local Plan which could require developers of major urban extensions to Sleaford provide sites for the traveller community.
Coun Steve Clegg noticed a section of the proposed new policy document setting out the areas for potential development in the next 25 years.
He said: “It refers to the provision of traveller sites as part of sustainable urban extensions including the one in Sleaford. Clearly, it makes sense for planners to take into account provision of sites for travellers. However, is placing such sites within an urban development the right option for both travellers and other residents? I wouldn’t want to provoke an anti-traveller debate, but equally by local residents not knowing about it beforehand, it could well be an unnecessary recipe for future problems.”
An NKDC spokesman said the expectations and inclusion of potential provision for gypsy and traveller sites within the Sustainable Urban Extensions was clearly defined in the Local Plan: “The proposals put forward by developers must, where applicable, set aside an area of land which is suitable for the provision of gypsy and traveller pitches unless it would be demonstrably inappropriate to do so.”
He said: “The size of the site would be agreed through negotiation, but is expected that it would be able to accommodate in the region of five pitches.
“It would be for the developer to deal with this through their detailed application and, if not appropriate on-site, to make alternative provision or financial contribution for an alternative off-site arrangement.”
He said the council is obliged to meet the future needs of the gypsy and travelling community too.
He added: “The council has no plans to own and manage a site, and as with housing land allocations, the allocation only sets the principle of permissible land use, which is then subject to a detailed application. Therefore any provision would come from the gypsy and traveller community submitting a planning application and purchasing the site from the landowner.”