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Rochford District Council will create 15-pitch site on Michelin's Farm, Rawreth
A COUNCIL will build a traveller’s site so it can clear illegal pitches across the district.
The council says the site, bordered by the A127, A1245 and A130 as well as the railway line, will provide a suitable location for the gypsy community currently living on unathorised sites in the district. The council is required by the East of England Regional Assembly to provide 15 pitches by 2018.
Keith Hudson, Tory councillor responsible for planning, said the council would own and control it permanently and it would be split between a 15-pitch traveller site and an industrial estate.
This, he says, will allow the council to clear the unauthorised pitches in Rochford.
He said: “We have a number of sites in our green belt which are occupied by the travelling community without the benefit of planning permission. They have appealed to the Secretary of State and their appeals have been lost.
“The council has identified a site which fulfils the Government requirement.”
Mr Hudson said the official site would mean people living on the other, illegal pitches around the district would be able to move to the new site.
He added: “We have taken it head on, dealt with it in an appropriate way, not ducking our responsibilities.”
The news was welcomed by villagers.
Alistir Matthews, vice chairman of Rawreth Parish Council, owns farmland near to an unauthorised site off Chelmsford Road, Rawreth.
He said he thought by providing an official site for the travelling community living in the district it would make it easier to clear illegal sites.
He said: “I am fully in support of it. As a parish council, we put forward the site as a preferred site for the industrial area. We would welcome the site 100 per cent providing they have got full facilities and everything they need.
“Michelin’s farm is green belt but it has been used as a dump for many years. We have encouraged the council to take the land over.”