Gypsy site could be expanded

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A GYPSY site in Battle could be expanded as Rother tries to find nine new pitches for travellers in the district, it has been revealed.

A first draft of the shortlist of proposed sites identifies Greenacres at Loose Farm Lane as a potential location for an extra one or two pitches.

There are already two permanent pitches on the site.

The proposed shortlist also includes other potential locations for pitches across the district including on land at Westfield, Robertsbrigde, Ewhurst, Cripps Corner, Bexhill, Rye, Guestling Green and Flimwell.

Rother District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee was due to discuss the initial shortlist, which has been drawn up by council officers, at a meeting on Monday (July 23).

But the committee has put back a discussion on the issue.

Instead, councillors will carry out site visits before deciding which sites should remain on the shortlist.

This final list will then be put out to public consultation.

There are currently 15 pitches for travellers located across Rother - 11 of them with permanent planning permission.

Four other pitches, at Beeches Brook in Telham Lane, Battle, Bramble Farm in Ewhurst, Colharbour Farm at Dallington and Cherry Tree Nursery in Flimwell, currently have temporary planning permission.

The sites at Beeches Brook, Bramble Farm and Cherry Tree Nursery were featured on Rother’s initial shortlist and could be considered for permanent planning permission.

Another possibility identified by Rother would be adding an extra two or three pitches on land adjacent to the existing travellers site at Redlands in Robertsbridge, just off the A21.

The site, which is overcrowded and has a waiting list, currently has eight permanent pitches.

The Cripps Corner Highway Depot, Guestling Green Depot, Chippings Depot at Rye, land east at Down Edge in Westfield and land south west of Moor Lane, also in Westfield, have been identified as potential locations, along with two sites in west and north Bexhill.

The final list, which could still be subject to change, was whittled down from an initial list of 850 sites.

A spokesperson for Rother District Council said: “The committee has decided to defer the consultation on the draft gypsy and traveller strategy until councillors have examined each of the proposed sites in more detail through site visits and have made further deliberations.

“Therefore the current draft strategy has been put on hold, pending revisions by councillors.

“Those locations identified in the paper put before Mondays night’s committee meeting may or may not feature in an updated document.

“It is important to remember that nothing has been decided as yet and the council wants to make sure it has got the draft strategy absolutely right before going out to consultation.”