Swanley Council says 'enough is enough' on new gypsy pitch plans

Swanley Council says 'enough is enough' on new gypsy pitch plans

This site at Valley Park in Lower Road, Hextable, could be set to expand by five pitches.

Coun Tony Searles.

Coun Jim Halford.

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

Swanley Council has declared "enough is enough" in its battle with Sevenoaks District Council over plans to locate new gypsy pitches in the area.

At a meeting of the council on June 4, members voted unanimously to send a statement to Sevenoaks calling on the authority to come up locations which are "neither in Swanley or on any of its borders".

As reported in News Shopper last week, Sevenoaks proposes to site 20 extra permanent pitches at five sites in and around Swanley by 2026 with sites in Crockenhill, Hextable, Farningham and West Kingsdown under consideration.

Swanley Village ward councillor Tony Searles told the meeting: "Residents have been saying to me ‘why are the sites all in the north and in Swanley?’

"Now is the time to say on behalf of the residents of Swanley, enough is enough.

"Please find some sites that are not in Swanley."

Sevenoaks’ proposals would involve adding seven entirely new permanent pitches in and around Swanley and making 13 existing temporary ones into permanent dwellings.

In response to concerns voiced by Coun Mark Fittock that making sites permanent could lead to them expanding further without permission, Coun Jim Halford said: "Let’s look at the Republic of Ireland, which is the most civilised country in the world, and follow their policy.

"If you overstep the mark with your caravan over there it will be moved on within 24 hours.

"Why is it our politicians in Britain are so damn thick that they can’t get the message?"

Sevenoaks has suggested 13 possible sites for 71 new pitches as part of a public consultation into its Gypsy and Traveller Plan.

As the planning authority it retains ultimate control over where the pitches will go, but is required to consult with councils like Swanley.

Sevenoaks is bound by law to find 72 extra pitches in the district by 2026, and is looking at further sites in Ash, Edenbridge, Farningham, Halstead and Shoreham.

A council spokesman said: "The proposed gypsy/traveller pitches have been put forward by the landowners, as part of previous calls for sites, or are existing temporary sites and are located in nine towns and villages spread across the entire district.

"Should more landowners come forward with additional sites anywhere in the district we would be happy to consider them."

To comment on the draft Gypsy and Traveller Plan – available online at planningconsult.sevenoaks.gov.uk – e-mail planning.policy@sevenoaks.gov.uk or write to Planning Policy Team, Sevenoaks District Council, Argyle Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1HG.

Comments (4)

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5:22pm Mon 9 Jun 14

BillHeslop says...

I really don't know what the fuss is about. These sites already exist. Perhaps the useless council should worry more about proposed social housing planned for Swanley and the state of the town centre. I don't mind having a few gypsies living near me - they have been here for rather longer than most others in Swanley. I'm more concerned at having the displaced of the elephant and castle as neighbours. But perhaps mentioning that isn't a vote winner and gypsy bashing is. Let's not forget council ineptitude has already allowed these sites to exist. And who notices them at the moment?
I really don't know what the fuss is about. These sites already exist. Perhaps the useless council should worry more about proposed social housing planned for Swanley and the state of the town centre. I don't mind having a few gypsies living near me - they have been here for rather longer than most others in Swanley. I'm more concerned at having the displaced of the elephant and castle as neighbours. But perhaps mentioning that isn't a vote winner and gypsy bashing is. Let's not forget council ineptitude has already allowed these sites to exist. And who notices them at the moment? BillHeslop
  • Score: 7

9:46pm Mon 9 Jun 14

cherished says...

Valley park looks lovely in that photo, I cannot see anything wrong with adding 5 more plots there! Its a shame the council have a habit with approving plans which, for instance, wouldn't be allowed in Sevenoaks but fine for Swanley. But then again its often a case of who you know, grease the right palms...
Valley park looks lovely in that photo, I cannot see anything wrong with adding 5 more plots there! Its a shame the council have a habit with approving plans which, for instance, wouldn't be allowed in Sevenoaks but fine for Swanley. But then again its often a case of who you know, grease the right palms... cherished
  • Score: 5

10:25pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Gypo.Joe says...

" But then again its often a case of who you know, grease the right palms..."


and I may add wear the apron on the square..
" But then again its often a case of who you know, grease the right palms..." and I may add wear the apron on the square.. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 1

9:57am Tue 10 Jun 14

carefree2 says...

I see that the proposed extension of sites are in the Northern Parishes of Sevenoaks or in and around Edenbridge.
It does not take a genius to see that none of the proposed pitches are in the Southern Parishes or around Sevenoaks Town. The Tory heartland.
So much for equality. All parished should have their fair share.
I see that the proposed extension of sites are in the Northern Parishes of Sevenoaks or in and around Edenbridge. It does not take a genius to see that none of the proposed pitches are in the Southern Parishes or around Sevenoaks Town. The Tory heartland. So much for equality. All parished should have their fair share. carefree2
  • Score: 3

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