Thousands object to gypsy and traveller site proposals in Leicester
Thousands of people have signed a petition against Leicester City Council's controversial plans for gypsy and traveller sites.
Nearly 2,700 people have objected to the council's proposals to create authorised and managed camps on three sites.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby is currently finalising which, if any, of the earmarked sites in Greengate Lane and Beaumont Way, Beaumont Leys, and Red Hill Way, Mowmacre Hill, should be developed.
The petition has been collected by the LE4 action group – made up of residents in Leicester and villages on its northern edge who are against the plans.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Any petition with more than 1,500 signatures automatically triggers a debate among councillors. Just 713 of the signatories live in the city boundaries, but Sir Peter has said the matter is of such public interest the debate should take place tomorrow, regardless of procedure.
He said authorised pitches were needed to try to prevent illegal camps springing up in the city.
He said: "I have always said this is an issue that people feel very strongly about and it won't be possible to find a solution that doesn't upset someone.
"However, we will debate this because I want people to have their voices heard. That includes a lot of people from Birstall who, though they do not live within the city boundaries, have signed the petition."
A Beaumont Leys resident who signed the petition and did not want to be named, said: "We just hope sheer force of numbers will persuade the mayor not to go ahead with these sites.
"I suspect he will ignore the petition, though, because most of the people on it are not city council voters."
The council initially looked at 350 possible sites across Leicester but narrowed it down to the three, which it consulted on earlier this summer. About 1,500 people took part – the largest number in any recent council consultation – and Sir Peter is to due make his final decision in October.
A fourth option, Hoods Close, Mowmacre Hill, is also under consideration. However, this has not been mentioned by petitioners.
Beaumont Leys Ward councillor Sundip Meghani said: "It's a healthy part of local democracy that people can object to things that concern them and it has been brought to our attention that a lot of people do not want travellers' sites in Beaumont Leys.
"Ultimately it is the mayor's decision and it will be a difficult one, but I have confidence he will consider every view and make an informed decisions.
"It says a lot that he has said the debate should take place even though it does not meet the usual requirements. To his credit, the mayor is listening."
The meeting, which will take place at Leicester Town Hall at 5pm tomorrow, is open to members of the public.
It expected to be attended by a large number of residents. Previously public meetings on the issue have attracted hundreds of people and police have had to be called to stop tensions boiling over.