At a meeting of Full Council last night, Stockton’s councillors approved a Cabinet recommendation that the current process to identify potential gypsy and traveller sites in the Borough be sent back to the drawing board.
They also agreed a recommendation that the Council seek the Secretary of State’s consent for the gypsy and traveller planning document to follow on from the adoption of its overall Local Plan.
Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook, said: “I am pleased that Council has approved Cabinet’s recommendations. We are going to go right back to the beginning and do the needs assessment from scratch so we can be absolutely sure how many pitches we need and have more discussions with the travelling community.
“We will also be carrying out a comprehensive land availability analysis – irrespective of current land ownership – using not only the national guidelines but also the local consultation responses we have received.
“We hope that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will give us his reassurance that this will not hold back the development of our overall Local Plan, especially as a similar approach has been allowed in other local authorities.”
Councillor Cook added: “This has been one of the most talked about topics in recent years. The level of public interest has been phenomenal and I hope that by making this decision it shows that when we ask people for their views, we do listen and take everything into account.”