Plans to set up an ‘emergency’ site for Gypsies and travellers in Southam have angered townspeople.
Warwickshire County Council has applied to Stratford District Council - the planning authority for Southam - to make a plot of land off Daventry Road (A425) in the town suitable to place 12 touring caravans and facilities, with the idea of using it to temporarily house Gypsies and travellers who have been evicted from other sites in the county.
In its application, the county council says occupants would be required to leave the Daventry Road site within 28 days and the onsite facilities and toilets would be managed by a council contractor.
Its statement also reads: “Warwickshire is seeing an increasing number of unauthorised encampments.
“By providing such a facility, Warwickshire would see improved cohesion between communities, the opportunity for users of the facility to obtain medical assistance and education for the duration of their stop by providing a temporary address, a reduction in unauthorised encampments by providing an alternative - and also by providing additional pitches to meet the shortfall.”
But the people who live close to the proposed site feel angry that they have not been asked for their views. Tony Lorimer, who lives in Rainsbrook Close, came across the application by trawling through the county council’s website after being alerted to it by someone else.
He said: “The neighbours to a site subject to a planning application are normally notified about it, but no one on the estate has been sent a letter and there are not notices up in the neighbourhood.
“It’s an underhand way in which the council is trying to slide this through.”
Mr Lorimer pointed out that the site - which has until recently been used by the council to store road chippings - is on the side of a main arterial road and that there are no footpaths running from it, making it unsuitable and dangerous for children to live there. He added: “Then there is the fact that the schools here are full.”
To see the planning application, visit planning.warwickshire.gov.uk/swiftlg/apas/run/wphappcriteria.display and enter the reference number: SDC/13CC021.