Gypsy and Traveller Plan Site Options Consultation Document

The SDC Gypsy & Traveller Site Plan has been made public today. First, SDC councillors will give their views on the various site options and then it will be opened to public consultation in May/June of this year. Nothing in the document is definitely going ahead, some sites will come out and others will go in.

The reason we are preparing this plan is because Government policy requires local planning authorities to identify the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers and prepare a plan to show how these needs will be met. In March 2012 the Council published its Gypsy, Traveller, and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment, which identified a need to provide 72 pitches (when applying the planning definition tests of Gypsy and Travellers) across the District between 2012 and 2026.

If the Sevenoaks District does not have enough sites for Gypsies and Travellers we will almost certainly lose appeals when Gypsies or Travellers pitch up on illegal encampments because the appeal inspector will  say there is no where else for them to live so we will grant permission – even if it is only temporary. If we can prove that we have enough authorised sites/pitches across the district we are in a very strong position to win appeals.

The proposed sites are:

–          Eagles Farm, Crowhurst Lane, West Kingsdown.

–          Hollywood Gardens, School Lane, West Kingsdown

–          Seven Acre Farm, Hever Road, Edenbridge

–          Malt House Farm, Lower Road, Hextable

–          Land East of Knockholt Station, London Road, Halstead

–          Holly Mobile Home Park, Hockenden Lane, Swanley

–          Hilltop Farm, London Road, Farningham

–          Robertson’s Nursery, Goldsel Road, Swanley

–          Land adj. Valley Park South, Lower Road, Hextable

–          Barnfield Park, Ash-cum-Ridley

–          Early Autumn, East Hill Road, Knatts Valley

–          Land west of Enterprise Way, Edenbridge

–          Land South of Mesne Way, part of Timberden Farm, Shoreham

–          Land at Fort Halstead, Halstead

Two of the proposed site are in the parish of Shoreham: Early Autumn in East Hill Road and Land South of Mesne Way in the village. As the local member for Otford & Shoreham I am very interested in your views on these two sites.