Alarm in village over gipsy site plans

More than £600,000 is being lined-up to create Broadland's first gipsy site. Broadland District Council has put in an outline bid for £621,500 to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to create the camp for travellers and gipsies.

More than £600,000 is being lined-up to create Broadland's first gipsy site.

Broadland District Council has put in an outline bid for £621,500 to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to create the camp for travellers and gipsies.

The move has provoked alarm in Reepham where villagers are battling proposals to create a camp on the former Whitwell Station site.

Broadland members will discuss possible sites for a camp at its cabinet meeting on Monday July 17, when protestors from Reepham will present a petition against the camp.

Last night members of Reepham Town Council met to discuss growing support for the town clubbing together and buying the site to build a youth hostel bunkhouse.

At a recent town council meeting residents said the site must be protected as it borders the picturesque Marriott's Way footpath and cycleway, which draws visitors to the town.

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The Norfolk County Council-owned site will be put on the market in the next two weeks with a guide price of more than £250,000 and is expected to be open to informal bids until September, giving Broadland enough time to bid on the site.

Hugh Ivins, who lives next to the Whitwell Station site at Whitwell Hall, is leading opposition to the proposals.

He said: "Local people are very concerned at Broadland's stance because they are trying to 'steamroller' through a traveller strategy due to the fact that NCC are selling Whitwell Station."

Spokesman for Broadland Angi Doy said the idea of the outline bid was for the Government to indicate whether it would support a full bid for a similar amount next April.

Residents of Reepham will discuss proposals for the site and the community bid at a public meeting at the Brewery House in Reepham on Wednesday, July 12 at 7.30pm.

Norfolk County Council has been awarded £36,082 from the DCLG to carry out maintenance and improvements at two gipsy sites. Drainage and fencing will be improved at the Saddlebow Road site in King's Lynn and replacement windows installed in the amenity blocks at the Swaffham Splashes site.