Gypsy site allocation meeting held up after residents yelled abuse

A meeting to discuss the allocation of gypsy sites in East Lindsey had to be put on hold after members of the public started yelling abuse.

Travellers vehicles have previously parked illegally in district-council run car parks in Mablethorpe.

Chairman Coun Richard Fry adjourned the planning policy meeting for 20 minutes after cries of “rubbish”, “disgusting” and “disgraceful” from a group of six residents enraged that Mablethorpe and Trusthorpe had been earmarked as potential sites for two Travellers’ transit sites.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” shouted one woman as she stormed out of the public gallery.

“Why is Mablethorpe always treated as the poor relation?”

Their outrage was echoed outside the meeting by county councillor Anne Reynolds, an observer at the meeting, who said that the Traveller initiative could prompt an exodus of businesses from the resort.

Meanwhile, Mark Pittam, who runs the 77-pitch Kirkstead caravan site in Trusthorpe, warned that the presence of gypsies could have a detrimental impact on his and neighbouring businesses.

“To locate a transit camp in the heart of a community would be inappropriate,” he protested.

When the meeting reconvened, committee member Coun Tony Howard ratcheted up the pressure.

Noting that part of Mablethorpe’s industrial estate had been allocated for the site, he warned: “Don’t take the public and businesses for fools.

“East Lindsey would be shooting itself in the foot if it gives away prime business land - the council would look very silly indeed.”

Coun Howard went on to claim that one business had sought to relocate to the industrial estate only to be told by the district council that it was not possible because the land had been “reserved.”

But planning policy manager, Anne Shorland insisted that there was currently no business interest in the industrial estate - possibly because it was in the wrong location.

This was confirmed by ELDC property officer Ed Fox who insisted there had been “minimal” interest in the estate and that any inquiries would be welcome.

“It is very difficult to make an authoritative decision when we are getting mixed messages,” complained Coun Howard.

There were several more adjournments - either for legal reasons or for data clarification.

District-wide, the council is required to provide a minimum of 20 transit sites in its emerging Local Plan.

After a debate lasting almost four hours, the committee decided to drop Trusthorpe from its proposal but to allocate up to seven pitches on Mablethorpe industrial estate.

Also in the allocation will a site off Burgh le Marsh by-pass where a planning application for up to 18 pitches is due to be determined at a meeting next month.