Eight sites across Leicester shortlisted for gypsies
Eight sites across the city have been shortlisted as potential traveller sites.
The city council today unveiled a list of the places across Leicester which it said could be suitable for gypsy settlements.
The list includes three previously identified sites in Beaumont Leys. It also includes another four pieces of land in Beaumont Leys and one in Aylestone.
Residents in some of the areas concerned said they would oppose any move to create sites.
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
However, city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby insisted that developments were essential.
He said: "This isn't easy and there will be people who are left unhappy whichever areas we choose.
"But we must have these sites somewhere. We can't keep moving travellers on from illegal sites if there's nowhere legal to send them to.
"I'm open-minded as to which sites are chosen but, whatever happens, it's our job to make sure we minimise any inconvenience to local people."
Last month, Redhill Way, Greengate Lane and Beaumont Way, in Beaumont Leys, were announced as the council's preferred sites for travellers. However, following a public outcry in the areas concerned, Sir Peter said the council was reconsidering its proposals.
A list of 350 council-owned plots of land has now been handed to councillors, along with the shortlist of eight areas which the council has deemed suitable for development.
As well as the three locations already announced, there are sites in Heacham Drive, Tilling Road, Thurcaston Road and Strasbourg Drive, in Beaumont Leys, and Montrose Road, in Aylestone.
Tony Doyle, 62, who lives in Montrose Road, said: "This has come as a bolt from the blue.
"I can't believe we've been shortlisted as somewhere for a traveller site.
"I think it's outrageous and I don't think people around here would stand for it."
Aylestone councillor Nigel Porter said: "I'm dead against it. It's one of the narrowest streets around and certainly couldn't cope with any significant amount of extra traffic.
"I'm backing residents in opposing this."
The eventual sites chosen will cater for about 26 families in total.
The travellers 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.
Councillors will now look at the shortlist, as well as the other 350 which were considered and rejected, and eventually make new proposals to the mayor.
A public consultation process will continue through to July 13, and Sir Peter will make the final decision at a later date.
Full details of how to have your say can be found at: www.leicester.gov.uk/gypsyandtravellersites
Related article: Residents vow 'no gypsy site here'
THE EIGHT SHORTLISTED SITES
1 Land to the west of Thurcaston Road, Beaumont Leys
Screening: There is natural screening of the site provided by plants and vegetation on two or three sides of the area, but additional screening would be required.
Residential amenity: There are no adjoining residential properties.
Access: There is a possible access route off the end of Hoods Close.
Biodiversity: It is not a designated green space but links to a green wedge and golf course at Birstall and scrub area with a mature hedgerow.
Heritage: An archeological assessment would be needed before any site could go ahead.
Suitability: Could be conflict with well-used sports pitches. Needs investigation.
2 Tilling Road, Beaumont Leys
Location: The site would be on that of a former old people’s home which has now been demolished.
Screening: There is very good natural screening by vegetation on all sides. The site would be surrounded on three sides by open space.
Residential amenity: There are 10 homes to the south of the site.
Access: Vehicle access to the site would pass five of the homes.
Biodiversity: There are some environmental issues because of wildlife on the site.
Suitability: Well-screened and not overlooked by neighbouring houses. Adjoins substantial council land holdings with development potential which could be compromised by proposed site.
3 Strasbourg Drive open space, Beaumont Leys
Location: An open grassland site with hedgerows is directly adjacent to Home Farm, a grade II-listed building.
Heritage: The open ground surrounding Home Farm formed part of its setting and should be avoided by any development.
Access: Access to the site would need to be created off Churchward Avenue for the site to be viable.
Access: A significant amount of screening and landscaping would be needed as the site is overlooked by houses on three sides.
Suitability: Only the eastern part of the site would be suitable for a traveller site but this is a well-used open space. Significant landscaping and screening would be required.
4 Montrose Road South, Aylestone
Location: This woodland area has Aylestone allotments to the west and Aylestone recreation ground to the north, and trees which the council deems have wildlife value.
Screening: It is in close proximity to bungalows and would need to be well-screened.
Residential amenities: The site is a few hundred metres away from a school.
Access: New access off Montrose Road would be needed.
Suitability: A site there could potentially be well integrated as part of the neighbourhood but would need to be cleared and a significant amount of screening provided.
5 Heacham Drive, Beaumont Leys
Residential amenity: This site backs on to houses on the north side of Heacham Drive and a buffer would be needed.
Access: New access would be necessary from Lomond Crescent but this would not be ideal because it is on a bend and access would be through narrow residential streets.
Biodiversity: It is an established wildlife habitat.
Screening: A significant amount of landscaping and screening would be required.
Suitability: Only suitable part would be adjoining Lomond Crescent. Significant landscaping and screening would be required. Further investigation required on access.
6 Redhill Way, land to the south of Corah Sports Ground, Loughborough Road
Location: The site is tucked to the side and back of the Corah Sports Ground and has been used – illegally – by travellers in the past.
Screening: The site is provided with excellent natural screening on all sides, with Redhill Way and Thurcaston Road providing physical separation.
Residential amenity: The nearest residential areas are some distance from the site.
Biodiversity: There are some wildlife issues, including the number of mature shrubs and trees on the site which might need to be removed to make way for a traveller camp. The site used to be used for sport but is now heavily overgrown.
Heritage: The plot is adjacent to the original line of the Great Central Railway and the size of any traveller site would need to be carefully considered to ensure it respected the setting of that historical asset.
suitability: Substantial clearance of vegetation needed, although hardstanding is already in place. Ecological surveys are needed.
7 Greengate Lane, Beaumont Leys
Location: The site is located close to a road junction on the outskirts of the city near Birstall.
Screening: It has very good natural screening. The site is known locally as an area which is regularly used illegally by travellers.
Residential amenity: There are four properties close to the site – one to the north and three locally listed homes to the south west.
Biodiversity: The site is “green wedge”, which is similar to greenbelt land and means the council would have to go against its own planning policy to develop the site.
Suitability: There is a single story residential structure on the site which would need to be cleared, but otherwise it would be suitable.
8 Beaumont Way, Bennion Road, Beaumont Leys
Location: The site is close to Leicester Leys leisure centre.
Screening: There are no homes close to the site. Only small amounts of additional screening would be needed.
Biodiversity: A traveller site would only be suitable in that location if it did not spread out on to Beaumont Park, which is an “important wildlife corridor”.
Access: The site could reasonably be accessed by car from Beaumont Way.
Suitability: Part of the site adjoining the council landscaping depot could be suitable.