Ultimatum over Travellers’ sites

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CRAIGAVON has reached its saturation point in terms of Travellers, according to a local councillor.

At last week’s council meeting Alderman Arnold Hatch said councillors needed to take a stand and tell planners that no more land in Craigavon should be made available for the Travelling community.

His rallying cry came during a discussion on Traveller accommodation in relation to PPS 12.

UUP Alderman Hatch said: “We’ve far more sites than any other local authorities in Northern Ireland, including Belfast.

“It’s about time we made some response to say that we don’t want to identify any more land for Travellers here. Other areas need to carry their fair share.”

Councillor Joe Nelson of the SDLP added: “While I recognise the rights of Travellers, what concerns me is they would be getting preference over people living in rural areas.”

He explained that under PPS 12, people in rural settings were finding it very difficult to get planning permission to build new houses. He said it could be dangerous to start given preference to a particular group.

Councillor’s agreed to note the draft amendment to PPS 12. They also agreed to send a letter to the Environment Minister relaying council views expressed by Alderman Hatch and Councillor Nelson.