Eric Pickles: No restriction on Bournemouth and Poole sharing transit travellers' camp (From Bournemouth Echo)
When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Eric Pickles: No restriction on Bournemouth and Poole sharing transit travellers' camp
COMMUNITIES Secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed there is no restriction on Bournemouth and Poole sharing a traveller transit site with neighbouring authorities.
Mr Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, made his comments in Parliament in response to a question from Mid Dorset and North Poole Lib Dem MP Annette Brooke.
Mrs Brooke questioned the secretary following a meeting held by Borough of Poole, last Friday, in which Poole’s Tory MP Robert Syms offered to meet with the Home Office to talk about varying the law on authorities sharing transit sites.
It had been thought government guidelines prohibited authorities from sharing transit sites, which councillors said was hampering progress on moving ahead on the issue.
However, answering Mrs Brookes question this week, Mr Pickles said: “There was some suggestion that there was a prohibition on adjoining local authorities’ sharing facilities.
“Having checked with the planners in my department, I am happy to report there is no restriction.
“We would very much welcome the idea of local authorities working together on this important and sensitive issue.”
Mrs Brooke asked the secretary of state directly about allowing Poole to share a travellers’ transit site with Bournemouth and Dorset County Council.
She asked what consideration had been given to allowing authorities to share sites, “given the lack of space in the conurbation and the great need for the police to be able to invoke section 62 powers when, for example, play areas become unavailable for use by local children during the school holidays.”
During last week’s traveller meeting at Poole Civic Centre, Dorset Police Assistant Chief Constable David Lewis explained police had the power to move travellers off public land more rapidly of there was a specific transit site to direct them to.
After the two-hour session Borough of Poole determined to continue its search for a transit site, and to also give consideration to establishing a ‘temporary stopping place’, which – before Mr Pickles’ comments – seemed to be a solution that could be in place earlier that a transit site.
Bournemouth Borough Council’s stance remains that there is no local demand for a permanent site and no suitable locations for a transit site.
Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood said he welcomed Mr Pickles’ confirmation. “Dorset council does have more brownfield sites available than Bournemouth and Poole so I am glad we now have clear guidance that a shared site would meet out obligations.
“The next step is to sit down and consider where such a site could be located.”
Borough of Poole head of legal & democratic services Tim Martin said: “The law in this area is complex and we are committed to working towards solutions that satisfy legal requirements.
“We note the views of the Secretary of State with interest and will be seeking further clarification on this matter.”
Comments are closed on this article.