Anger as Travellers’ site plan gets go-ahead

Travellers Site Story. INLM10-210
Travellers Site Story. INLM10-210

RESIDENTS say they have been baffled by the decision to give the green light for a new Travellers’ site in Craigavon.

Despite receiving 162 letters of objection planners have indicated they will grant permission for a 12-pitch accommodation 25 metres south west of 520-523 Burnside.

And one of the major concerns of the objectors is why such a big site is needed when, just a short distance away, there is another site at Legahory.

“I just cannot understand how this was passed,” said one resident. “They just dismissed out of hand our health and safety concerns.”

It was not just the people of Burnside who voiced their concerns but objections came from other estates as well.

“I would love to know why they thought Burnside was the right place to put the site,” said another resident.

“Do they not care about the impact it will have on our lives. Why could they not build bungalows for old people or play areas for children.”

They claim that the other site, just a short walk from the Burnside site, is under-used most times.

“We have been completely dismissed,” added the resident.

“We have been though hell here with drug dealers, joyriders and hoods but we stayed in the area.

“We just want to live in peace in our mixed area.”

The Housing Executive first completed a Comprehensive Travellers Accommodation Assessment in 2002 and carried out a second in 2008.

This showed that there were 53 traveller families in the Craigavon area and 33 of them indicated a preference for a serviced site.

A previous application for the site was granted but not proceeded with due to land acquisition difficulties.

The new application has been granted by planners because it fulfilled the criteria within the planning guidelines.

A wall will provide screening around part of the site to integrate it into the area.

They say they took into account the level of objections but many of the matters raised were not within their remit but policing matters.

Each pitch on the site will have a utility pod consisting of a blue steel box with shower, WC and cooking area.

There will be space for a caravan and two car parking spaces.

But it will be some time before any work will start on the site with the Executive faced with additional procedures to go through.