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Travellers’ fury at camp targets

PUBLISHED: 18:09 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:06 12 August 2010

A TRAVELLER has hit out at a Tory politician for criticising the government s targets for more gypsy sites. Community chiefs have given Bromley

A TRAVELLER has hit out at a Tory politician for criticising the government's targets for more gypsy sites.

Community chiefs have given Bromley the highest allocation of new pitches of any London borough with 58 and given Bexley a target of 27.

But London Assembly member for Bromley and Bexley James Cleverly has condemned the top-down targets imposed on boroughs saying that communities should set the goals.

Traveller Laura Saunders, 28, of Powercroft Road, Foots Cray, said: "We are an easy target as because we don't have no rights or nothing. If they give us houses then we would move. This is not the way we want to live.

"My sister-in-law has been waiting for a council house for eight years and she has four kids. Why should we have nothing? Nobody criticises the building of more flats."

Mr Cleverly said: "The whole idea of top-down pitch targets is completely wrong. It should be up to communities to say how many pitches they can provide, not the other way around.

"Bromley and Bexley have 10 unused gypsy sites between them, calling into question the need for new sites at all.

"Being forced to provide more gypsy and travellers' pitches will place a massive financial burden on councils.

"It will cut the amount of land available on which to build new affordable homes, which are desperately needed to tackle London's housing crisis."

The Housing Act 2004 and subsequent updates require Boris Johnson's London Plan to include an assessment of the accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers living in each London borough.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communities said: "The Plan is now on consultation until January 2010. Numbers will not be finalised until they have been considered at an Examination in Public."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk


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