EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing is backing residents in their fight against proposals for traveller sites across the district.
She told parliament she has received “countless” letters, emails and telephone calls from constituents, and added that they had her “every sympathy”.
She said: “The Government are riding roughshod over local democracy and opinion. They are not only insisting, but directing in law, that Epping Forest District Council provide 96 additional pitches
for gypsies and travellers over the next few years.”
She added: “Can any of us imagine part of our own garden, or a small field adjacent to our house, being compulsorily purchased and used for Gypsies and Travellers, when for centuries it had been
used only by horses or sheep? That would cause indescribable anguish among my constituents and I have every sympathy with them.
“More than anything, they are rightly indignant about how local democracy is being utterly ignored and disregarded.
“Local people are not properly consulted, and decisions are forced on our communities by regional and national bodies.
“This is not about party politics; it is about protecting our local community and planning for the best use of our scarce land resources.
“Because of the way the Government behave, Epping Forest District Council, which is taking the blame for producing a development document on where the pitches might go, simply had no choice in the
matter. I find that difficult to explain.
“There is no democracy and no choice.”