Debate on Gypsy sites in Warwick district to continue

Gypsies who had moved on to land in Myton Fields in Warwick last year.
Gypsies who had moved on to land in Myton Fields in Warwick last year.

Councillors have stepped in to prevent their senior colleagues from pushing through proposals for permanent Gypsy and traveller sites in Warwick district.

As we reported, district council officials selected five sites - all of which were in the south of the district, where most of the new housing in the Local Plan has been earmarked for - which were last week approved by councillors on the council’s executive committee for a six-week public consultation.

Another eight sites were selected for a ‘reserve list’ in case the consultation showed that the majority of people were unhappy with the selected five.

But five councillors have since requested that this decision is ‘called in’ - much like a decision concerning the Pump Room in Leamington last month - meaning that the issue must be debated further by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

The five councillors felt that six weeks was not enough time for the consultation, that more sites should be selected as potential options - and they were unhappy that one of the sites was on green belt land.

Included in the earmarked sites is a hotly contested patch of land off the Fosse Way in Radford Semele, where the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre is sited - the owners of which have said they would be forced to sell their business should Gypsies and/or travellers move there.

The consultation has been halted for the time being. The overview and scrutiny committee will meet at Leamington town hall on Wednesday.