Cabinet accepts short-term traveller proposals

Cabinet accepts short-term traveller proposals

James Preston

Cabinet accepts short-term traveller proposals

A short-term plan for accommodating travellers came a step closer to being finalised at a Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead cabinet meeting last night.

At the meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall, cabinet members agreed to accept a report recommending land at Mill Place in Datchet be considered for gypsy and traveller use after it found at least 10 additional pitches would be needed by 2017.

But the cabinet were criticised from the public gallery by Cllr Malcolm Beer (Ind, Old Windsor), who said a planning and housing overview and scrutiny recommendation on the report was not discussed to a satisfactory standard, which he said 'does not represent open and transparent government'.

The recommendations called for the report to be deferred for a month to make the proposal more legally robust and to consult again on 23 sites originally short-listed for new pitches.

Cllr Christine Bateson (Con, Sunningdale) said the 23 sites were still being considered in the medium to long-term but the report had identified four potential short-term sites following a survey of 52 gypsy and traveller households in the Royal Borough, with Mill Place earmarked as the most suitable land.

Cabinet chairman David Burbage (Con, Bray) added the cabinet agenda had been printed before the overview and scrutiny meeting, but the recommendations had now been noted.

The survey was part of a collaboration being the Royal Borough and Reading, Wokingham, West Berkshire and Bracknell Forest councils to address gypsy and traveller issues.

In a written statement, Datchet councillor Jesse Grey (Con) said the village's travellers were 'very much a part of the community'.

Other matters discussed at the meeting included:

  • An overview of the cabinet's manifesto commitments, of which most targets were being met.
  • Cllr MJ Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham) referenced his recent heart attack and said a move to 'prevention being better than cure' was needed following a discussion on a government white paper to improve the promotion of people's wellbeing and independence in adult social care.
  • Cabinet members noted a report updating the programme of projects planned using developer contribution money (Section 106 payments). The report also stated more than £4m had been contributed by developers in the 2011/2012 financial year.
  • The latest financial update was presented, which showed nearly £1.3m in savings had been made by the council so far this year.

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