Delay over plans for travellers’ site as group requests more information

Sites across Ashington and Blyth that are being proposed as potential travellers sites. Ennerdale Road, Blyth.
Sites across Ashington and Blyth that are being proposed as potential travellers sites. Ennerdale Road, Blyth.

FURTHER talks are to due to take place on developing a traveller site in the south east of the county.

Officers and councillors at Northumberland County Council have been working since last year on drawing up proposals for a Gypsy Roma Traveller transit site.

Two sites have been identified by the council, with the preferred option being a site at Ennerdale Road in Blyth. The other potential site is in Coniston Road, also in Blyth

However, the Gypsy Roma Traveller Task Group – set up by the communities and place overview and scrutiny committee to look into the situation – say more information is needed before they can present a full report.

Speaking at Monday’s executive meeting, group chairman Coun Glen Sanderson said they were still waiting on some key information from officers before they could proceed.

He said the committee had been taking a close look at the situation, including looking at all the background papers, but felt some parts of the process were flawed.

As a result, Coun Sanderson said they had asked officers to look again at some areas, with a report due back to the committee next month which would be presented to the executive’s meeting in March.

It is anticipated that any site would not be operational until the summer at the very earliest.

Among the issues being discussed by the task group are whether the council could collect rent and other relevant charges from those using the site; how close it is to an A-class road, helping improve access for travellers; if the land was owned by the county council; and whether the proposed sites were on land not necessarily suited for housing.

However, there has been strong objection to the proposals from nearby residents and Blyth Town Council. A petition signed by nearly 700 residents was presented to the county council late last year calling for a rethink about the plans.