Aylestone ruled out as potential area for new traveller site
Aylestone has been ruled out as a potential area for a new traveller site.
A patch of land in Montrose Road is on a list of eight sites which have previously been rated by council officers as suitable for permanent legal gypsy camps.
But city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has ruled out the site, saying: “The prevalence of unauthorised encampments in Leicester clearly indicates that there is a trend in the area, and it is a problem specific to the wards of Abbey and Beaumont Leys.
“I have stated throughout that is my belief that a suitable solution must be provided in the area most affected by the problem.”
Craig Hewitt, from nearby Wigston Lane, said: “I’m happy with the news. A lot of people were worried that if a gypsy camp was created here then the whole place would end up looking like a warzone.”
A resident of Montrose Road, who did not wish to be named, said: “A gypsy site would have killed house prices around here so we’re glad the idea has been nipped in the bud.”
A final decision will be made later this year on exactly where to create new council-run traveller sites.
Three plots of land in Beaumont Leys were announced as the council’s preferred sites back in February. However following public anger the mayor passed the original shortlist of eight sites - of which all but the Aylestone site were in Beaumont Leys - to a panel of councillors to scrutinise.
They will eventually make their recommendations to the mayor, who will make the final decision.
Sir Peter says he is still focused on the original three sites; Greengate Way, Beaumont Way and Red Hill Way, but is keeping an open mind.
The other sites on the list are Heacham Drive, Tilling Road, Thurcaston Road and Strasbourg Drive. The eventual sites chosen will cater for about 26 families in total.
Ian Carver, 52, who lives off Strasbourg Drive in Beaumont Leys, said: “It’s frustrating that all the sites are likely to be in Beaumont Leys, but I can understand the reasoning as that’s where the problem is.”
The travellers on the new sites would mostly be temporary tenants, paying rent, council tax and charges for gas, electricity and water. The camps would be set up using more than £1.5 million of Government cash.
Sue Waddington, who chairs the panel scrutinising the potential sites, said: “We’ll thoroughly deliberate all of the options before presenting our findings to the mayor, but at the end of the day he’s got the final decision on all of this.”
The public consultation process will continue until July 13. Have your say at: www.leicester.gov.uk/gypsyandtravellersites