Anger over council's gipsy site plan

Residents of a Thetford housing estate spoke of their anger yesterday after plans for a new travellers' site were submitted before the completion of a public consultation exercise.

Residents of a Thetford estate have hit out after plans for a new travellers' site were submitted before public consultation concluded.

Breckland Council officers met Abbey Estate residents on Monday to discuss six shortlisted short-stay gipsy and traveller camps for the edge of town.

But yesterday it emerged the council applied for planning permission for a site between the estate and the A11 last week. Close to the Anglian Water sewage works and BP garages, it would be run by Breckland and used by half a dozen caravans for a few weeks a year.

Abbey Tenants' and Residents' Association fear approval of the scheme could reignite crime and antisocial behaviour. They are also unhappy with the way that public consultation was not advertised over fears of organised demonstrations.

Secretary Pauline Quadling, said it was "totally out of order" that a site was chosen before Monday's meeting. She said: "We have nothing against gipsies or travellers, but we have worked so hard to sort everything out on the Abbey. This will knock us back ten years."

Gordon Partridge, principal environmental health officer at Breckland, said the site was the "most suitable" to meet government guidelines on short-stay facilities. He said residents could air their views during the planning process.