Price of land for gypsy site agreed

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A PRICE has now been agreed for the travellers’ site in Holbeach.

South Holland District Council has built a ten-pitch site off the A151 link road in Holbeach and was embroiled in a long wrangle with landowner Lincolnshire County Council, which originally asked for £400,000 for the land.

At last week’s cabinet meeting members approved payment of a sum put forward by the District Valuer for the site – although the figure will not yet be released into the public domain because it is “commercially sensitive”.

The council’s initial valuation for the land was £40,000 – ten times less than the county council’s price tag – but the authority was concerned that the District Valuer’s price then changed to a higher figure.

According to minutes of last week’s cabinet discussion, held in closed session, the higher amount includes a price for the land, severance and damages caused.

Councillors were then satisfied that the outcome was positive given that the cost agreed is said to be much lower than the county council’s initial value for the land, which is now home to travellers once on the Cranmore Lane site.

The final figure should be released once other ongoing negotiations have been completed.

The controversial Holbeach site – named Rose View Drive – has been dogged by problems and has seen costs spiral up to £1million.

It is supposed to be one of three sites to cater for gypsies and travellers in South Holland.

The council is in the process of forcing the sale of land off Centenary Way on Sutton Bridge for a temporary stopping point and has not yet chosen its third site.

Lincolnshire County Council said it had not yet been told about the district council’s decision and as a result it did not wish to comment at this stage.

l The Holbeach travellers’ site was one of two matters addressed in closed session.

At the meeting council leader Coun Gary Porter questioned why that and the Red Lion Quarter were being discussed behind closed doors, saying he was “struggling” to reconcile that with the concept of open democracy.

He said excluding the press and public seemed to be occurring on an almost weekly basis.

However, council chief executive Terry Huggins said the matters were commercially sensitive.

Coun Bryan Alcock said he also had “difficulty” with the items being discussed in closed session but said he understood the reasons.

He said: “I would like to know when the council is going to make the information available to the public in a form they can have.

“I think both matters are of interest to the public.”

He called for the council to find a way of discussing the matters in an “adult fashion” and said the public should be aware of what they were discussing.