Knowle Hill site set for gypsies and travellers?

PUBLISHED: 09:30 13 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:29 10 June 2010

FOUR possible sites have been earmarked for travellers and gypsies in East Devon and one is on the main road between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton. The Journal can reveal that East Devon District Council has identified a field adjacent to Knowle Recycl

FOUR possible sites have been earmarked for travellers and gypsies in East Devon - and one is on the main road between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.The Journal can reveal that East Devon District Council has identified a field adjacent to Knowle Recycling Centre along the B3178 Salterton Road. It belongs to Clinton Devon Estates.Other possible sites identified are:l Land at Sidmouth immediately on the left as motorists turn off the main A3052, near The Bowd, and into the B3176 Sidmouthl The current county council recycling centre at Tipton St John, which is soon to close.l A field at the Iron Bridge on the A30 in Honition.Three of the proposed sites are privately-owned and the owners of the land are being notified by letter of the district council's proposals.The Government has ordered EDDC to find an additional nine pitches by 2011.It is not yet known whether the council will designate one or two sites - it will depend on the number of pitches a site can hold.If the landowners cooperate with the district council, it is believed the land will be purchased by the county council with government cash earmarked for gypsy/traveller sites.Landowners will not be pressured to sell - and the district council will be forced to put forward new sites if the current identified four spots fall through.EDDC was keeping tight-lipped about the possible sites this week.A spokesperson said: "Gypsy and traveller site provision in East Devon has been the subject of an ongoing consultation exercise under the council's Local Development Framework proposals. "The options identified as a result of recent public consultation and other studies will be presented to a meeting of EDDC's Development Control Committee on Tuesday, March 10."The recommendations of that meeting will go forward to a subsequent meeting of EDDC's Executive Board. "The proposed sites will be the subject of further public consultation before identifying location(s) that would accommodate EDDC's quota of pitches. "At this stage we cannot comment on speculation as to the possible location of any of the optional sites."However, the Journal was told by a source this week: "East Devon District Council will notify the land owners and wait for a response. "If the land owners are unwilling, the council will have to look for other sites."The council has a statutory duty to provide sites."There is a whole raft of sites that can be used. "The council has been looking at dozens of sites all around the area. These four are the sites they came up with."Exmouth Mayor Joy Whipps told the Journal she was surprised at the lack of consultation. She said: "I'm shocked - this is the first I've heard of it."I'm disappointed that Exmouth Town Council has not been consulted.

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