Traveller site moves

PLANS for two transit sites for gipsies and travellers in north Norfolk are set to take another step forward despite opposition from locals.Short-stay camps at Fakenham and Cromer have been opposedby nearby residents, butdistrict councillors are being recommended to submit planning applications for the sites bymid-May.

PLANS for two transit sites for gipsies and travellers in north Norfolk are set to take another step forward despite opposition from locals.

Short-stay camps at Fakenham and Cromer have been opposed

by nearby residents, but

district councillors are being recommended to submit planning applications for the sites by


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mid-May.

The site at Holt Road, Cromer, would cost £545,000 and the Fakenham one, off the bypass, £844,000 - a higher figure because of extra roadworks needed to build

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an entrance, says a report to

North Norfolk District Council's cabinet.

Community director Steve Blatch admits there is strong opposition, particularly at Fakenham, where some people thought the outcome of a parish poll opposing the site had been ignored.

But the consultation process had not throw up any new issues, and even though the sites were not supported by “large elements of the local community close to the facilities”, the transit sites were vital to help reduce tensions between the settled and travelling communities caused by unauthorised encampments.

The council's “supporting communities team” was also planning to work with the gipsies and travellers in a bid to “improve levels of understanding and improve relations” between the two groups.

Grant funding will cover the cost of building the camps, while running costs would be modest, helped by the reduced costs of managing unauthorised camps, says the report to the meeting on May 6.

Cabinet is also being asked for its views on a proposed new regional strategy on gipsies and travellers, which says each district should provide 15 full-time residential pitches, when previous studies have shown there is no demand for long-stay, only short-stay, sites in North Norfolk.

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