Senior councillors have approved the £100,000 purchase of a travellers’ site they initially rejected at planning after being told it would cost “hundreds of thousands” more to find a new location.
East Lindsey District Council’s portfolio holder for finance Councillor Richard Fry told the authority’s executive that it had already been a challenge to find the Burgh Le Marsh site
Councils must legally have space set aside for travellers.
Councillor Fry said the land off Burgh Bypass was allocated in the local plan and had previously been used, without permission, for the purpose.
He added the authority would have to spend “literally hundreds of thousands of pounds” to find another site.
Councillor Thomas Ashton backed the move which would see ELDC be responsible for the site and its occupants.
He said: “This represents a positive step both for the development of this site and for communities which may have a degree of uncertainty in terms of standard operation and management of this site which will come through this authority.”
Councillor Adam Grist added it was an “opportunity to put this [issue] to bed for a relatively cheap amount of money”.
However, Councillor Steve Kirk, ward member for Burgh Le Marsh, opposed the plans, stating that he disagreed with the legislation that required authorities to provide sites and with rate payers having to contribute towards them,
He added he was “uncomfortable” supporting the move knowing the opposition in his own ward.
Council leader Councillor Craig Leyland sympathised, but added that if the motion was not passed it would “throw our local plan in jeopardy”.
The site was originally refused permission to become a travellers’ site by ELDC but was approved on appeal in January.
However, the owner later decided to sell the land – which risked the council losing the site from its official figures if it was sold and turned into something else.
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