Hundreds attend meeting over Attleborough gipsy site plans

Concern has been raised by residents in Attleborough over plans that could result in 15 new gipsy and traveller pitches in the area.

Hundreds of people attended the first meeting of the Question Local Attleborough Traveller Sites (QLATS) action group, which has been formed to oppose a new development in the town.

It comes after a landowner in West Carr Road in Attleborough said Breckland Council officers had expressed an interest in buying land for a permanent gipsy and traveller site.

The town is earmarked for 4,000 new homes and 15 gipsy and traveller pitches under Breckland Council's core strategy. However, an Attleborough and Snetterton Heath Area Action Plan (ASHAAP) has not yet been completed.

Jayne Owen, of QLATS, told a packed meeting at Connaught Hall last night that they were being kept in the dark over where Breckland Council wanted to create a site for gipsies and travellers.

'Travellers do have a right by law to live somewhere, but we do not understand why travellers living illegally in Thetford can not stay in permanently in Thetford. There is an element of fairness to this. There are already 12 private pitches in Attleborough.'

'We have a letter from a group in Cheshire who with 7,000 signatures made their council perform a u-turn and it shows we can do the same if necessary,' she said.

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Local district councillor Adrian Stasiak said he was not aware of Breckland Council choosing any specific sites in Attleborough.

'I know the district council are looking for a permanent traveller site and I have heard lots and lots of rumours. I am here to listen and I will try and deliver what you want,' he said.

A Breckland Council spokesman today said the authority was looking for suitable sites along the A11 corridor, but 'no specific sites have been identified as yet.'

The spokesman added: 'The council is working with Broadland Housing Association who will manage the site. When identified, the proposed site location will be dealt with through the normal planning application process and located where it would not have an adverse visual impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape.'

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