Listening to everyone over traveller sites

In response to Kate Mottershead, where the former Liberal Democrat candidate criticises me for not listening to residents regarding the possibility of allocating land for gypsy and traveller use in the borough.

Sunday, 29th March 2015, 12:19 pm

As well as listening to residents, I also have to listen to the Government.

The council must comply with national Government guidelines when producing the Local Plan. Those guidelines state the council has to consider gypsy and traveller needs and provide supporting evidence for any decisions they take.

The independent needs assessment the council commissioned states Burnley does need to provide space for 28 pitches.

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I am surprised Mrs Mottershead is not aware of this as her husband was on the Council Executive that made the decision to use outside consultants to carry out the needs assessment.

The reason for the delay in publishing the council’s preferred Local Plan option to the summer is that the Government have been consulting on changing the definition of a gypsy and traveller.

If the definition does change then this may affect the needs assessment and the council will have to take account of this.

Readers may remember that a few months ago I offered to put party politics to one side and to join the MP to put residents’ views on this matter directly to the relevant Government Minister. An offer that so far the MP has decided not to to take up.

The offer remains on the table.

Coun. Mark Townsend

Council Leader