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Issue - meetings

Site Disposal

Meeting: 03/07/2018 - Cabinet (Item 256)

256 Site Disposal

*         Report by Alistair Cunningham, Corporate Director

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Toby Sturgis presented the report which asked Cabinet to consider the option of transferring the ownership of the Oak Tree Field, Dairy House Bridge and Odstock sites including any expenditure required to achieve transfer and maintain health and safety to enable them to receive the investment they need to continue to remain in use as gypsy and traveller sites.

 

Councillor Mathew Deane, Chair of the Environment Select Committee, stated that assurances had been given from the Cabinet Member that the interests of long term residents would be protected.

 

The Leader then invited the Reverend Jonathon Herbert, Chaplin to the Gypsy & Traveller Community in Wiltshire and Dorset, and residents from the sites to address the meeting. Matters highlighted included: the strong family connections to the sites and the wider community; the good relationship with the Council; the concern over possible increases in rents; the alternative options that could be explored; that Wiltshire Council has responsible to support the most vulnerable; that the community would welcome a creative solution; that the Council be encourage to use their wider network to see what lessons can be learnt; the hope that the Council would continue appropriate due diligence and openness to finding empathic solutions.

 

In response to some of the issues raised, Councillor Sturgis stated that he was open to discussion of the possibility of a community land trust or other alternative solutions; that the Council would continue to employ liaison officers and would retain responsibility to oversee that sites meet regulations; and that development of the site could include the potential for more pitches on more site.

 

The Leader stated that the issues raised by the families on the site were being taken seriously, and asked that the Cabinet Member continue to work with the communities to develop a solution and to address their concerns as appropriate.

 

Councillor Ian Thorn emphasised the relevance of the aspiration in the business plan that the Council ensures people have a good home they can afford.

 

At the conclusion of the debate, the meeting;

 

Resolved

 

That Approval is given to:

 

  1. Dispose of the Council’s freehold interests in the two gypsy and traveller sites at Oak Tree Field and Dairy House Bridge including the Odstock transit sites to enable them to stay as gypsy and traveller sites; and

 

  1. Delegate to the Director for Housing and Commercial Development authority to agree the terms of the transfer of ownership in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property, the Director of Finance and Procurement and the Director of Legal and Governance Services.

 

Reason for Decisions:

 

Dairy House Bridge, Oak Tree Field and the Odstock transit sites are in need of substantial investment. Transfer of ownership of the sites to a new owner will enable this investment to ensure the sites are able to remain in use as gypsy and traveller sites.

 


 

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