May 01 2012

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Press Release

PRESS RELEASE – Gypsies and Travellers in BaNES
Issued by Stanton Wick Action Group – Tuesday 1st May 2012 10am

Huge Attendance at Pensford Open Meeting
The Pensford Village hall was full on Saturday evening, when over 200 residents packed into the Hall.
The meeting was attended by Councillor Jeremy Sparks, the member representing Stanton Wick, the Chairman and members of the Pensford Parish Council and members of the Gypsy community.

Laura and Paul Baxter gave an eloquent address to the meeting covering the background of BaNES policy and actions leading up to a short list of 7 potential sites to be considered for development as permanent sites for Gypsies and Travellers, together with a detailed analysis of the criteria for selection applied to the site in Stanton Wick.
The audience heard of the flawed process and what looks to be an attempt by BaNES councillors and officers to push the Stanton Wick former colliery site into the short list when it clearly does not meet any of the required criteria set out by BaNES or national guidelines.

Councillor Jeremy Sparks answered questions from the audience, acknowledged that the site at Stanton Wick was clearly not suitable for development and pledged to consult with the BaNES Cabinet before the public meeting on May 9th where the short list of selected sites will be considered to put forward for further consultation. Councillor Sparks was applauded by the audience for his attendance and expressing his support for the residents’ concerns.
Clarke Osborne, speaking on behalf of the Stanton Wick residents chaired questions and a debate before setting out how residents can make their views known by speaking at the BaNES meeting on May 9th and supporting the campaign to persuade BaNES to think again before putting the short list of sites to further consultation. He also confirmed that the action group would be employing leading legal advice in representation to BaNES.

Paul Baxter said afterwards “I was delighted with the turn out and with the intelligent debate which followed. It is clear that the majority of residents in Pensford are completely bemused by BaNES actions and very concerned that this appears to be an attempt to make this site in the green belt with contaminated and unstable ground, no services and a single track access, which would solve all or most of their problems on this issue, fit into a criteria that it clearly cannot. We have to work hard and fast to make our views known at the meeting on the 9th May when I hope BaNES will see the errors in the assessment so far and reopen the search for sites to produce a feasible short list of sites for further consultation.

Clarke Osborne said “We are delighted with the response from the residents of Pensford, Councillor Sparks and the Chairman of the Parish Council, all of whom have engaged in this process, which is at the heart of localism. We have needed to mobilize very quickly as this very important news for this part of the Chew Valley came to our notice just 10 days ago, despite as we have learnt, this process being underway for over a year. There is clearly something wrong with BaNES process of informing residents of issues that could have a significant effect on their community. We are all attending a meeting of Stanton Drew Parish Council on May 2nd at 7.30pm and many of us will be attending and speaking at the BaNES Cabinet meeting on May 9th. We are doing all we can to inform our fellow residents and to make the fight on their behalf. This really is localism at work and I hope that the members on BaNES Cabinet will have a close look at what we are saying and the questions we are asking, and decide to reopen the process to find the 7 preferred sites for consultation and later planning applications.

This has opened up issues of process that have taken place and raised a number of questions as to how this site could have made a short list when it is clearly so unsuitable. We will seek answers to those questions in due course but for now we must concentrate our resources on the May 9th meeting.

All residents at the meeting were urged to sign the e-petition located on the BaNES website (click here), and write letters of objection to Tim Ball at tim_ball@bathnes.gov.uk Councillor for Homes and Planning. If there are any residents who we have not contacted and provided information please contact us by either going to our web site www.stantonwickactiongroup.org or email us.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stantonwickactiongroup.org/press-release/

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