Consultation starts on plans for £150,000 traveller site in Shrewsbury

Consultation has started on plans to build a £150,000 traveller transit site on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.

An unlawful encampment was set up on a playing field off Shorncliffe Drive in July
An unlawful encampment was set up on a playing field off Shorncliffe Drive in July

The potential 3.6 hectare-site lies between the A5124 Battlefield Link Road and the A528 Shrewsbury Road, near to where the proposed North West Relief Road will meet the Ellesmere Road roundabout.

The consultation on the temporary development, which would be in place for five years, is being run by Shropshire Council until November 30.

It comes after 153 reports of unauthorised encampments on Shropshire Council land over the last five years, and more than 200 on private land.

The council hopes the site would reduce disruption caused when travellers camp at playing fields and car parks in the area.

A fact sheet submitted as part of the consultation states: "Over the last five years Shropshire Council has seen a number of unauthorised encampments in and around Shrewsbury and a significant number pitching on high profile locations such as the park and ride sites, Battlefield Enterprise Park and the retail business car parks, impacting both on the public and private sectors.

"Some areas within Shrewsbury experience regular unauthorised encampments, which can cause disruption and conflict locally, and can also be expensive and time consuming to clear.

"The delivery of transit provision could, within a reasonably short timescale, deal with the ongoing and costly issues associated with such encampments and help ease the impact on local communities and businesses whilst longer term site provision is considered.

"It is worth noting that not all groups are problematic and pitch up in the county annually without any issues."

The document says the site would be "discreetly located" near trees to block its view from nearby roads and "provide a safe place for families to stay whilst passing through the county".

'Paramount'

Up to eight families could stay at the location for up to three weeks at a time and the council has a view to get the site up and running within 12 months.

If approved, it would operate for up to five years after which time the council would assess whether to find a more suitable permanent plot.

The total cost of constructing the site – with a toilet and shower block, CCTV and height restriction barriers – will be around £150,000, with ongoing costs of £4,000 a year.

The council estimates rental income from pitches will be about £7,000 per year.

Concerns had been raised that the site could increase crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.

The fact sheet adds Shropshire Council working with the police would be "paramount" to the site's success.

Local authorities are required by law to identify and seek to meet the accommodation needs of travellers, which includes provision for transit sites.

To respond to the consultation, email propertystrategy@shropshire.gov.uk or write to Property Strategy & Review Team, Assets & Estate Management, Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND.

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