Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois has today welcomed the announcement by Rochford District Council that they intend to suspend their recently announced consultation document on potential new Gypsy and Traveller sites across the Rochford District.
Rochford District Council recently announced a consultation, on up to ten new traveller sites across the District which has led to considerable opposition from constituents in the areas potentially affected, ranging from Rayleigh through to Canewdon. The consultation was issued pretty much without forewarning, including to Mark as the local MP.
The document was also at variance with the Council’s longstanding policy, which is to establish one new Gypsy and Traveller site at Michelin’s Farm, adjacent to the Fairglen Interchange junction on the A127.
Commenting on the Council’s decision, Mark Francois said:
“This consultation document appeared to be rushed out at short notice, apparently at the behest of council officers, so I am pleased that the councillor’s themselves have had second thoughts, not least given the degree of consternation which the document caused (including an online petition of over 1,500 signatures, which was put together by local residents in 48 hours). As far as I am concerned, the Council would be better to stick with their longstanding policy of building one Gypsy and Traveller site at Michelin’s Farm, which is something my constituents have been aware of for many years. We all know how controversial such sites can be and seeking to spread them across the District, closely interspersed with the settled community, seems to be a very bad way to proceed. So I am pleased that the council have reconsidered their original decision and I look forward to the consultation document being formally withdrawn at the forthcoming Full Council meeting on 19th February.”