‘Bring back our travellers’ site’

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A COSY plan to build the first new council homes for years has hit a political brick wall – in the form of a travellers’ site.

Last month the ruling Conservatives voted to scrap controversial £1.2 million plans to provide a site for the travelling community at Fenny Lock.

Instead they resolved it would be better value for money to build 10 homes for disabled people at the other end of the city.

But within days 20 members of the public exercised their democratic right to “call in” a council decision and demand it be reconsidered.

The protesters, headed by city Citizens Advice Bureau boss Wendy Leymann, includes equality groups as well as travellers themselves.

They were advised by Lib Dem Councillor Chris Williams who said: “I fought for years for this travellers’ site and I will continue to fight.”

He said the money for the Fenny Lock site was given by the government specifically for a permanent travellers’ site.

“Already the council has spent £600,000 preparing and clearing the site. That is now money wasted.

“We are robbing one disadvantaged community to pay another disabled community. But is no reason we cannot satisfy both. The council has the means to fund the disabled housing independently, and it should do so.”

Last night a panel of councillors was due to hear the deputation’s appeal.

If granted, the matter will go back to Cabinet for reconsideration.

But either way the council could find itself on sticky ground, for the national Gypsy Council is already seeking legal advice on whether equality laws have been broken.