Mixed reaction to plan for Gypsy and traveller site in Plymouth
PLANS for a transit site for travellers and Gypsies have received mixed public reactions.
Members of the public were yesterday given a second chance to voice their opinions on the proposed Broadley Park Transit Gypsy and Traveller site at a Have Your Say meeting held at Woolwell Community Centre.
Fifteen transit pitches could be built on land owned by the council at Broadley Park, near Roborough, under the controversial plans.
And local residents have voiced their opinions on the council's online consultation portal.
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One resident said that whilst they believed the location of the site was fine, it ran the risk of looking like a "concentration camp" due to the proposed high metal fence surrounding the site.
They said: "The high metal fence proposed around the site risks giving it a concentration-camp feel. This has been done on several sites around the country and is extremely unpleasant.
"I appreciate the travellers need to be protected from the more vile elements in the settled community, but could this not be done with high hedging perhaps?
"If the site has a cold, drab and prison-like atmosphere, it will probably be under-used."
They continued: "I am glad Plymouth City Council is attempting to make up for decades of rather inadequate management of the Gypsy/Traveller issue.
"I sincerely hope the good effort the council is now making is not laid to waste by the inevitable public backlash. Too often, these sites are not built because of public opposition."
But another resident said they objected "entirely" to the proposed plans. They said: "I'm not happy about having a gypsy site at the back of my property. Gypsies that have been in the area recently and in the past, have littered, made an awful mess, and personally have witnessed total disrespect from a few."
One person voiced their concerns about the effect the site would have on local businesses.
They said: "The location is poor. Although on the outskirts of Plymouth there is nothing for the travellers to do in this area which will lead to more local crime such as vandalism.
"Legitimate businesses in the area will suffer. We pay rates and additional fees to have bins collected and even pay for the grass to be cut.
"The travellers will not have to pay for this and I think this is fundamentally wrong. Will I be allowed to use the refuse facilities on this site?
"I run a training centre and have a number of customers, many under the age of 18 and fear that the travellers will not mix well with these students and in general the local businesses in the area."
A spokesperson from the council said the consultations had seen a steady flow of visitors enquiring about the proposals.
The council spokesperson said: "The reaction has largely been a recognition that there have been unauthorised encampments in the area and that a managed solution would be a better way forward."