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Plan for 30-caravan traveller site on A16

The unauthorised travellers site at Broad Drove, Gosberton Clough.

The unauthorised travellers site at Broad Drove, Gosberton Clough.

A new six-acre traveller site could be built in Spalding to replace an unauthorised one in Gosberton Clough.

The new site would provide ten pitches, each for up to three caravans, on land between Drain Bank North and the A16.

Plans have been submitted by South Holland District Council and could be considered at the next planning committee meeting on January 8.

The site would serve as a replacement for the existing unauthorised camp at Broad Drove, Gosberton Clough, which would then fall into the possession of the council.

The district council has an option to buy the new six-acre site, which is currently used as agricultural land.

One of the sides of the site would butt up to an existing unauthorised travellers’ camp.

The cost of the new facility, which has not been revealed, would be met from a £1.753million pot from the Government to provide three travellers’ sites in South Holland.

But the scheme to provide two permanent and one transit sites have been dogged by controversy since the money was awarded in 2006.

The district council has so far replaced one unauthorised site in Cranmore Lane, Holbeach, with an authorised one in Northons Lane – but the overall cost of doing so totalled £1,075,834 – leaving just £638,682 in the budget for the two other sites.

An external auditor was asked to look at the cost of providing the Northons Lane site and relocating occupants from Cranmore Lane.

The investigation itself cost the district council around £30,000, but eventually cleared the authority of any wrongdoing.

However, the auditor’s report did highlight issues the council needed to consider, including its failure to review its site selection as problems arose which sent the cost 
spiralling.

The auditor said that at a cost of almost £108,000 per pitch, the “comparatively high cost” Northons Lane site “leaves unanswered questions over whether it was value for money for taxpayers.”.

A location for the third “transit” site has been identified at Wingland, Sutton Bridge.

The plans submitted for the A16 site show mains water and electricity will be connected and extensive landscaping will provide privacy screening for the caravans.

Septic tanks will be provided to each pitch for the disposal of sewage.

But objections to the plans have already been lodged on the council’s planning portal, with one concerned about the site being built on a flood plain and asking how traveller children would get to school.

One comment read: “After the fiasco of the Red Lion Centre being built at such a cost to the council you would think that this is truly a waste of money.”

 

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