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Public asked what they think about proposed Gypsy and traveller camp in Reading

Cow Lane Bridge near Richfield Avenue

The council is to start a month long consultation over a 'transit site' in Cow Lane to combat illegal sites around teh town.

Last year there were 87 unauthorised encampments in Reading, most of which were on Council land.

Enforcement and clean-up bills cost Reading Borough Council and the Reading council tax payer an estimated £95,000.

If the possible location for a transit site is agreed following consultation,  it would for the first time create a dedicated space for gypsies and travellers in Reading.

This could help reduce the number of illegal encampments in the town and cut down significantly on enforcement and clean-up costs.

The site is on land at the junction of Cow Lane and Richfield Avenue and was chosen following a thorough assessment of 80 potential sites across the borough.

These were closely considered against a range of planning criteria, which included  potential effect on residential amenity, visual effects and access issues.

The exercise follows the result of a recent Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA), which identified accommodation needs including for 10-17 permanent pitches and for a transit site to house 10 caravans for gypsies and travellers in Reading.

After careful consideration by Council officers – including the likely availability of the 80 sites – one possible site is being proposed for consultation.

See the details here: http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/7699/item09/pdf/item09.pdf

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“Every local authority is obliged under national planning policy to consider how gypsy and traveller accommodation needs can be met.

"There are currently no permanent or transit pitches in Reading and the recent assessment confirms what we have known for some time – that there is a need for suitable sites locally.

“If agreed, this provision would only part meet the identified need in the borough of course.

"As well as consulting on this possible site, the next step is therefore for the Council to engage with other local authorities to see if the identified need for permanent pitches can be met elsewhere.”

If approved at Policy Committee on September 25th, the consultation will run for a period of four weeks, starting from the week beginning September 25th until Tuesday October 24. 

People will be asked for their views on the Cow Lane / Richfield Avenue site as a possible location for a transit site and whether they agree there are no other potentially suitable and available sites in Reading Borough.

Once the consultation goes live people can email responses to: planningpolicy@reading.gov.uk or write to Planning Policy Team, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU.


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