Traveller’s site ‘still not value for money’

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PLANS to build a traveller’s site at Fenny Lock have been shelved once again after Cabinet said it was still not value for money.

At an extraordinary council meeting last night, members of the opposition Labour and Lib Dem groups carried a motion to put the site back on the agenda.

However, the Cabinet, made up of seven Conservative councillors, opted to maintain its stance against the site, choosing to build disabled council bungalows instead.

Back in February, Cabinet suspended plans to continue work on the site near Bletchley after a reading a report compiled on the location by an executive scrutiny committee.

The cross-party panel declared that the Fenny Lock site was not offering the council value for money. Initially, the money given to the council under the previous Lib Dem adminstration by the government was ring-fenced to be spent specifically on the traveller’s site. However, it was later revealed that the money could be spent elsewhere.

And with that, the Cabinet decided to shelve plans to continue against the largely unpopular Fenny Lock site, and chose to build council housing for families in Band 1 – those with the most need for accommodation.

Twenty members of the public protested cabinet’s decision and forced it to be ‘called in’ for re-discussion. Labour’s Councillor Nigel Long put forward a motion to urge the cabinet to rethink their stance.

He argued that the ‘moral majority in the council’ felt the money should be invested in the travellers’ site at Fenny Lock and that a Citizen’s Jury should be established to decide the location of the unallocated pitches for travellers.

During the three hour debate 12 members of the public aired their views on the topic, with the majority speaking out against the Fenny Lock site.

Despite the motion being carried with 24 votes in favour to 20 against, Cabinet stood by their initial decision, citing that with no new evidence stating the contrary, Fenny Lock still did not offer value for money and therefore did not warrant being built.

Councillor Peter Geary, cabinet member for Communities, Corporate Services and Transformation said: “Fenny Lock has never represented value for money. We have debated for nearly three hours but have not heard any new evidence as to why we should rethink our initial decisions.”

Council leader Councillor Andrew Geary added there were people in greater need. He said: “The priority for the administration is those Band 1 housing needs people, including the three traveller families within that Band 1 housing need, who we put very much at the top of the agenda.”

> What is your opinion on cabinet’s decision to give up on Fenny Lock? Email toby.lock@jpress.co.uk with your thoughts.