Councillors Say Travellers Consultation For Wyke Regis Is Flawed
8:30am 25th September 2014
Labour councillors in Weymouth and Portland are criticising a public consultation over a proposed Gypsy and Traveller site near Wyke Regis.
West Dorset District Council wants to make a disused Army Camp a potential authorised transit-site for travellers.
Labour Councillors think Weymouth residents will have to deal with extra demands on local facilities.
Councillor Kate Wheller, who represents Wyke Regis, said it was 'totally unnacceptable' not to consult Weymouth residents: "The proposed site may well fall within West Dorset but it is only accessible via Wyke Regis. More importantly it will result in additional pressure being put on facilities located in and used by residents of Wyke Regis and the wider Weymouth area."
A second Wyke Regis Councillor, Craig Martin, said: "One major concern is the pressure on school places. There are several schools that this proposal will impact and due to changes in school funding, the need to identify additional places could have significant financial implications. This alone should highlight the need for proper consultation with affected residents."
Councillor Lucy Hamilton, whose Westham West ward includes nearby Lanehouse, urged West Dorset to reconsider: "It's a waste of time and money holding a consultation in Chickerell. We have residents at Lanehouse, at Littlesea and in Wyke who will want to give their views and to discuss with council officers. There are properties just inches away from the proposed site, while the consultation is miles away."
As it is currently planned, Labour councillors believe the consultation process simply does not take account of the community it needs to engage. Councillor Wheller said: "Many of the residents likely to be affected by the proposal are elderly or on low incomes. Many won't be able to access the venue in Chickerell, nor will they be able to access the online consultation. This isn't a fair or proper consultation."