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Plans to re-open Mettle Hill travellers’ site are dropped by SCDC

A press release from South Cambridgeshire District Council has been issued late this afternoon stating that they are nolonger interested in Mettle Hill.  Thank you to everyone for their contributions and help on a fantastic and successful campaign.  Further updates to follow and here is the press release:

 

Council leaders have confirmed today (Friday 7 December) they are no longer bidding to purchase a former Travellers’ site in Meldreth after a rival offer was confirmed for the land.

Cabinet members recommended last month that a meeting of Full Council should consider purchasing the site to meet legal obligations to provide sufficient future accommodation for growing Traveller families currently living in the district. But news of an offer from Meldreth Parish Council has ended their interest.

Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for housing, said:

“We still believe the site was a viable option to meet our future legal obligations for Travellers, but the Parish Council has put in a rival bid at the market value and it would be completely wrong and a terrible use of public money if we were to pay over the odds and enter into a bidding war. If the Parish Council decides to pull out we will re-enter into negotiations.”

Independent research published in June established that 20 extra pitches would be needed in South Cambridgeshire until 2031 to provide sufficient housing for Travellers – but a recent letter from Andrew Lansley MP to the Leader of the Council suggests Government policy does not require councils to provide further pitches.

Confirmation of the rival bid also means the District Council’s meeting to debate the purchase – that had been postponed until 10 January to give extra time to listen to residents’ concerns before making a decision – has now been cancelled.

Plans to fund the purchase of two existing Travellers’ sites in the district at Whaddon, and off the A14 near Milton, will now be discussed at the Council meeting on Thursday 31 January. Both sites are currently owned by Cambridgeshire County Council but managed on their behalf by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

If the purchases are agreed, South Cambridgeshire District Council will bid for further government funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to improve the site at Whaddon. This funding would also be used to add two further pitches through better use of the land.

Cllr Mark Howell said:

“I would like to particularly thank Cllr Rob Searles at Meldreth Parish Council as he has worked very constructively with us about plans for the site. During our discussions with Andrew Lansley about this issue he offered to facilitate a meeting with central government to discuss Gypsy and Traveller matters for the area and we look forward to him making the arrangements.”

http://www.scambs.gov.uk/pressreleases/pressrelease.htm?mode=10&pk_press_release=1772

7 Responses to Plans to re-open Mettle Hill travellers’ site are dropped by SCDC

  • United Meldreth says:

    Well done everyone, if there is to be a celebration it should be to mark the unity and dignity of Meldreth in protecting what we have built, it wouldn’t be right to celebrate anything else. Does anyone else think we are just that little bit closer now? What a great place to live!! We should be proud!

  • Greg Dash says:

    Fab news! Well done to everyone who put up a fight and special thanks from me to Susan and all the members of Meldreth Parish Council, the villagers and the show people for uniting as one. Well done again.

  • Emma P says:

    This really is fantastic news. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!! Great to see the community all pull together to achieve the best result for our village. Special thanks to Susan and the Parish Council for all their efforts.

  • Emma birch says:

    Thank you to all involved what a fantastic community we live in I will defiantly be getting a good nights sleep tonight what a great Christmas present xxxx

  • New resident says:

    A heartfelt thanks to Susan, the Parish Council, the working parties and to those who have walked the streets to keep us all informed – you have done yourselves and the village proud. As a new resident I am impressed that the diverse communities in the village have pulled together to get the result we all wanted. I assume that rental of the land is the preferred option and would love to hear the ideas under consideration of what the site could be used for.

    • MettleHill.com Admin says:

      Information on the possible uses of the land will be released in the near future from the Parish Council and we will keep everyone informed.

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