Short stay traveller sites plan withdrawn by Suffolk County Council

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A consultation into the creation of three official Gypsy and traveller sites across Suffolk has been scrapped by Suffolk County Council.

A consultation began last week following the release of figures which shows 210 unauthorised encampments have appeared in Suffolk since 2007.

The council had identified seven potential sites, which included the lay-by off the A143 opposite Shepherds Lane, Wortham, and land near A140 junction with Castleton Way in Eye.

The permanent sites would be intended for temporary use, with the length of stay varying from 28 days to three months, with users paying rent. But following feedback from councillors, residents, and landowners coming forward with other potential sites, the consultation has been dropped.

Council leader Mark Bee said: “A number of alternative proposals have been put forward and, in the interest of making the best decisions for Suffolk, they need to be looked at. That is why we’ve taken the early decision to stop the current consultation today (Thursday) and develop a fresh approach.”

No timescale has been given for when a new consultation will begin, while all previously scheduled drop-in sessions have been cancelled.

Wortham and Burgate Parish Council chairman Stephen Rash had written to Cllr Bee, urging him to withdraw the consultation and identify more suitable sites, although he conceded there was an issue with illegal encampments in the parish.

Speaking before the withdrawal, he said: “As you can imagine we have had a lot of strong reactions from parishioners. We have had no comments in support of the proposed site.”

He told the Diss Express yesterday: “We are very pleased that the county council has seen sense and we look forward to reviewing the next consultation as and when it arrives.”

The other dropped sites include the former Chippings Dump in Stanton, and spots in Felixstowe, Levington, and the former Little Chef sites in Kentford, and off the A14 by the Orwell Bridge.