GREEN LIGHT TO BUY SITE FOR TRAVELLERS

The Government has passed plans to force the sale of land for a travellers’ site in Sutton Bridge and said that it will improve the “social wellbeing” of the area.

The decision marks a victory for South Holland District Council – which chose land off Centenary Way near the A17 at Wingland for a ten-pitch temporary stopping site back in November 2007.

Since then the council has fought off protests from the public and landowners EDF Energy and St John’s College to win planning permission and now the right to force the sale of the land through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

The CPO was subject to a public inquiry on September 8 and inspector Mark Dakeyne decided it should be allowed to go ahead – a decision approved by Eric Pickles’ Government Department for Communities and Local Government.

The inspector ruled that the move would stop illegal roadside camps from springing up and said that “there is a compelling need in the public interest” for the site.

Campaigners have criticised the decision and said that it shows that the new Government’s talk of localism and devolving powers to communities to make their minds up on planning matters affecting them is “hot air”.

Protestors said the site was unsafe, particularly due to its location close to the busy A17.