Epsom Council’s u-turn on potential permanent gypsy and traveller sites in the borough has been welcomed.

In a statement on Friday, a spokesman said proposals for new sites would no longer be considered by the council’s planning policy committee on February 19 as “more work” needs to be done on evaluating the sites.

The Epsom Guardian revealed last week that areas of scrubland near the smart new Manor Park housing development and a portion of Hook Road Arena were on the shortlist.

Councillor Sheila Carlson, who represents court ward and revealed the two options to this newspaper, said: “What it shows is they haven’t particularly done a very thorough investigation before it was going to go ahead. 

“In particular there are councillors who were very upset that the first time they heard anything was when they read it in the paper.

“They were talking to the people whose wards those proposed sites sat in and that doesn’t mean those are the only people who would be affected.

“It’s a good thing that this is going to wait for longer as it will allow a better lead-in time so that they can actually present something to the planning policy committee which is perhaps a better report which will have to be considered by that committee at a later date.

“The fact that it has been held off is indicative that they haven’t done the consultation among councillors.  Maybe they could do a briefing to all of the councillors.”

Timothy Nathan, chairman of Stamford ward residents' association, said it had requested that the item be taken off the agenda of the committee on February 19 as it wants more time to consult with residents.

He said: “We are pleased this has been done and it is not going to be rushed through.  However, we still want to hear from residents in the ward because the issue is not going to go away.

“Residents in Stamford Ward should look out for a leaflet asking them to let us know their views so that we can make sure they are taken into account in future discussions around the issue."   

What do you think about potential gypsy and traveller sites in Epsom and Ewell? Leave a comment below or email Hardeep Matharu on the newsdesk on hmatharu@london.newsquest.co.uk