All-party group formed to discuss new gypsy and traveller sites in Epsom and Ewell

This Is Local London: A portion of Hook Road arena was earmarked as a potential site for a new gypsy and traveller site earlier this year A portion of Hook Road arena was earmarked as a potential site for a new gypsy and traveller site earlier this year

An all-party group of councillors has been formed to discuss potential new sites for gypsy and traveller camps.

The working group was formed last week after Epsom Council sparked controversy earlier this year by not consulting all councillors on the issue.

The council announced at the start of the year that it was reviewing where new, permanent sites could be built within Epsom and Ewell - something the Government has said it must plan for.

But in February, heated public debate was ignited after one councillor revealed that a portion of Hook Road Arena and areas of scrubland around the smart Manor Park housing development were on the list, while the majority of Epsom’s councillors were unaware of the review altogether.

A shortlist of potential sites was due to go out to public consultation this spring but, following the controversy, the council announced this would now be delayed until September to allow a working group to form and to meet periodically to discuss site options.

In a report submitted as part of the council’s planning policy committee meeting last week, the council said: "Following discussions between members and officers it was agreed that further consideration needs to be given to this important issue prior to any public consultation on options.

"In order to provide members with an opportunity to discuss, engage and agree the issues surrounding the process, it is suggested that a working group be set up.

"The group will meet on at least three occasions, with a view to discussing and agreeing a position of the issues of need, site identification criteria and potential site options."

The members of the working group are: Residents’ Association councillors Michael Arthur, chairman of the planning policy committee; Neil Dallen; David Wood; Jan Mason; Clive Smitheram; Conservative councillor James Clarke, Lib Dem Colin Taylor and Labour councillor Rob Geleit.

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Comments (5)

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1:31pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

So a bit of back peddling by some councillors in organising an all party committee, after this news first broke & caused so much furore. I doubt that those councillors who want these sites to become traveller camps, or rubbish dumps, live anywhere near these suggested locations. Nor do I live near them, but I fear for those who do, as well as the loss of amenities in those areas for all Epsom & Ewell Borough residents. Come on Councillors, do the right thing for the ratepayers, not for the spongers.
So a bit of back peddling by some councillors in organising an all party committee, after this news first broke & caused so much furore. I doubt that those councillors who want these sites to become traveller camps, or rubbish dumps, live anywhere near these suggested locations. Nor do I live near them, but I fear for those who do, as well as the loss of amenities in those areas for all Epsom & Ewell Borough residents. Come on Councillors, do the right thing for the ratepayers, not for the spongers. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 9

10:17am Thu 17 Apr 14

EwellMan says...

Again, we dont need any new sites in Epsom and Ewell......we need zero tolerance with the ones we have. Kiln Lane, cox lane.....Come on, fill them up and then come back with this debate.

Also can the council explain if the Gypsies are paying their way though council tax why i am paying for "Gypsy Site Maintenance" in mine. Surely gone are the days with their brand new Merc's and 50k weddings that they need hand outs from the Council.
Again, we dont need any new sites in Epsom and Ewell......we need zero tolerance with the ones we have. Kiln Lane, cox lane.....Come on, fill them up and then come back with this debate. Also can the council explain if the Gypsies are paying their way though council tax why i am paying for "Gypsy Site Maintenance" in mine. Surely gone are the days with their brand new Merc's and 50k weddings that they need hand outs from the Council. EwellMan
  • Score: 0

10:23am Thu 17 Apr 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

EwellMan wrote:
Again, we dont need any new sites in Epsom and Ewell......we need zero tolerance with the ones we have. Kiln Lane, cox lane.....Come on, fill them up and then come back with this debate.

Also can the council explain if the Gypsies are paying their way though council tax why i am paying for "Gypsy Site Maintenance" in mine. Surely gone are the days with their brand new Merc's and 50k weddings that they need hand outs from the Council.
So true, EwellMan, could not have put it better myself. In fact I didn't. I still feel that the good people of this borough are going to be sh#fted over this, & not in a good way.
[quote][p][bold]EwellMan[/bold] wrote: Again, we dont need any new sites in Epsom and Ewell......we need zero tolerance with the ones we have. Kiln Lane, cox lane.....Come on, fill them up and then come back with this debate. Also can the council explain if the Gypsies are paying their way though council tax why i am paying for "Gypsy Site Maintenance" in mine. Surely gone are the days with their brand new Merc's and 50k weddings that they need hand outs from the Council.[/p][/quote]So true, EwellMan, could not have put it better myself. In fact I didn't. I still feel that the good people of this borough are going to be sh#fted over this, & not in a good way. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 0

11:37am Thu 17 Apr 14

EwellMan says...

I have a novel idea as we supposedly live in a democracy.

Put any new site and location to the vote. This should happen with any large developments (e.g. over say 30 houses) , building of places of worship and camps like this, basically anything that will impact the community.

For 1/2 a mile radius from the proposal knock on doors of the residents and ask for a Yes/No vote. Over 50% happy then alow the development but over 50% so NO then it should be rejected. Only one appeal and if still no then a 20+year ban on re-application should apply.
I have a novel idea as we supposedly live in a democracy. Put any new site and location to the vote. This should happen with any large developments (e.g. over say 30 houses) , building of places of worship and camps like this, basically anything that will impact the community. For 1/2 a mile radius from the proposal knock on doors of the residents and ask for a Yes/No vote. Over 50% happy then alow the development but over 50% so NO then it should be rejected. Only one appeal and if still no then a 20+year ban on re-application should apply. EwellMan
  • Score: -1

7:59am Wed 23 Apr 14

Worried resident! says...

I am confused....why do we need to spend even more tax payers money discussing this issue? The SWRA met with the representative of the Gypsy community and they said there was a need for a maximum of 6 more pitches, no more! This came from the traveller community themselves!! This can be accommodated on the current sites so why aren't we sorting out issues there /making room for 6 more pitches there?? Seems like we are going through this horrendous process again, just for the sake of it. Residents views have not changed on the matter and we will fight tooth and nail to make sure inappropriate sites are not put forward again. Or else there will be a mass exodus out of Epsom and Ewelll, as I certainly won't be raising my children here!!
I am confused....why do we need to spend even more tax payers money discussing this issue? The SWRA met with the representative of the Gypsy community and they said there was a need for a maximum of 6 more pitches, no more! This came from the traveller community themselves!! This can be accommodated on the current sites so why aren't we sorting out issues there /making room for 6 more pitches there?? Seems like we are going through this horrendous process again, just for the sake of it. Residents views have not changed on the matter and we will fight tooth and nail to make sure inappropriate sites are not put forward again. Or else there will be a mass exodus out of Epsom and Ewelll, as I certainly won't be raising my children here!! Worried resident!
  • Score: 1

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