Residents’ group meets with councillors over village gypsy site proposal

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A GROUP of residents, who are opposed to council plans for a permanent travellers’ site in Brightling, have met with planning bosses at a meeting chaired by their MP.

Greg Barker, MP for Bexhill and Battle, led the delegation of members of the Coldharbour Action Committee and parish council leaders, who expressed their concerns to Rother District Council over plans to make Coldharbour Farm a permanent traveller site.

Representing the community at the June 14 meeting were Andrew Wedmore of Brightling Parish Council, Wendy Myers of Dallington Parish Council, Roger Burford of Ashburnham and Penshurst Parish Council, and Chloe Marshall and Darren Hook from the Coldharbour Action Committee.

Representing Rother were council leader Cllr Carl Maynard, head of planning Tim Hickling, Cllr Bob White and Cllr David Vereker.

Back in April, nearly three hundred residents turned out to a public meeting to discuss Rother’s plans.

Those opposed to the proposals are challenging Rother’s decision to include Coldharbour Farm on the council’s shortlist as it continues its quest to find a number of permanent traveller pitches in the district.

Linda Parker, spokesperson for the Coldharbour Action Committee, said: “The site was not considered suitable for shortlisting after a detailed appraisal against government approved criteria, however there was still no light shed on the reasons why the site was unexpectedly put forward by the council as a permanent site.

“The council admitted that their main criteria had been deliverability of sites rather than suitability.

“This is being challenged by the Coldharbour Action Committee and the three parish councils.

“The planning committee has consistently found this sensitive site unsuitable for development over many years.

“The council have agreed to a further meeting of the parish councils and action committee to discuss developments.

“The action committee are strongly advising interested residents to log onto the www.brightling.org.uk web site, and to follow the traveller site link to register to be kept informed of developments.”