Pannal residents sent survey over proposed Gypsy and Traveller site

Aerial view of Pannal

Aerial view of Pannal

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Residents in Pannal have been sent a survey by their parish council, seeking their views on a proposed Gypsy and Traveller site in the area.

The proposed site has been included in Harrogate Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan and has already sparked concern and controversy among local residents.

Many residents have submitted their views on the online consultation, questioning why the site has been proposed for one of the “main entrances” to Harrogate.

Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council have now sent out a survey to its parishioners to help form the basis of its official views on the proposal.

A spokesperson for the parish council said: “There were two meetings by separate organisations held in Pannal Village Hall regarding pubic views on the proposed developments.

“Despite what appeared to be a foregone conclusion from those meetings, as a statutory body, the parish council could not act on conjecture.

“In the event of an enquiry, the parish council had to have evidence of the wishes of parishioners.

“Hence a memorandum with two specific questions was circulated by councillors to houses within the parish.”#

Although responses to the survey are still being collected, more than 90 per cent of those who have replied so far have objected to any development on the Crimple Valley site.

However, more than 98 per cent of those who have replied have opposed the creation of a Gypsy and Traveller site.

Coun Rebecca Burnett, cabinet member for Planning and Sustainable Development explained that, as part of national planning policy, the council must provide a site for Gypsy,Traveller and Travelling Showpeople’s housing needs.

However, as no suitable traveller sites were suggested during the council’s Call for Sites, Coun Burnett said they were left in the “difficult position” of using its own land.

Coun Burnett stressed that if any “better alternatives” emerged then they would be looked into but explained the council did not own any other land to accommodate the site.

The proposal has attracted a number of concerned responses from local residents who have described the plans as “incredulous” and called on the council to find a more fitting location.