Travellers’ site is good use of taxpayers’ cash

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REJECTING plans to build a new gypsy and travellers’ site in Milton Keynes would be a huge step backwards for the city, according to one councillor.

Andy Maric, Lib Dem councillor for Newport Pagnell South, has reacted angrily to events last week which saw plans to build a new site at Fenny Lock delayed while a survey is carried out to see whether the £1.2 million allocated could be better spent elsewhere.

Last week, Councillor Peter Geary, Cabinet member for Communities, Corporate Services and Transformation, said that a number of issues had been raised where money could better distributed, and that the council ‘want to make sure we have all the facts.’

Councillor Maric disagrees however, and believes that withdrawing plans to build the new site could be disastrous.

He said: “It really frustrates me when I hear Conservative councillors saying there isn’t a need for a travellers’ site and we should breach legal contracts to spend the little money left elsewhere.

“It’s a downright lie and their own data reflects that.

“Caravans and encampments by the side of our roads used to be a real problem in MK and was one of the things the Lib Dems took action on when they used to run the council.

“It received a lot of local and cross party support for addressing it up front.”

Last year Milto Keynes Council dealt with a total of 34 encampments, though figures have increased to 32 in 2011 already, and Mr Maric hopes that the proposed survey comes back indicating that a site is needed in Milton Keynes.

He said: “The council has already spent over half a million pounds on the project, backing out now would breach contracts and potentially break the law as minority groups could place a legal challenge against the council, all at the expense of the taxpayer.”

> What do you think? Should the council continue with its plans to build a travellers’ site at Fenny Lock or spend the money elsewhere? Write to newsdesk or email editorial@mkcitizen.co.uk