COUNCIL chiefs have dismissed demands that a consultation document over new traveller sites be distributed to every potentially affected household.
Such a move would cost Epping Forest District Council £50,000 – an amount which it claims cannot be justified.
A total of 27 sites across the district have been identified as possible traveller plots, after the Government told the authority it had to find an additional 49 pitches by 2011.
North Weald Parish Council clerk Sue DeLuca said the consultation document should be provided to every household in the areas where sites had been earmarked, but planning cabinet member Anne Grigg
said: “I do not feel that this order of expenditure (£50,000 to print 56,000 copies) can be justified.
She said the document was available to anyone who requested a copy, and was also online at the council’s website and would be featured in The Forester magazine.
The council is urging as many people as possible to respond to the consultation, which started on November 4 and runs until January 20.
Council chairman John Knapman said: “This council wants as many of you (the public) to give their views as possible.
“A number of you are very angry – a number of you are very upset.”
Council leader Di Collins told last week’s council meeting: “We have endeavoured to make the process as open and transparent as we can. We have done the best we can to make everyone aware of what
we have been directed to do (by the Government).”
She added: “I know there are concerns. Do fill in the questionnaires. We must have your name and address as otherwise they will have to be ruled out if they come in anonymously.”
Deputy council leader Chris Whitbread said the district was “being rode roughshod over” by the Government.
He added: “It’s right and proper that the (residents’) voice is heard. That’s the voice of democracy that’s needed.
“It’s very important that not only people in those parts of the district (where the potential sites are located) respond but people in Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, and other areas that are not
“We need everyone to put their thoughts on paper.”
Loughton Residents’ Association councillor Caroline Pond said: “There are too many pitches required and I have every sympathy for those caught up in these proposals.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Whitehouse said he believed the document had “a number of flaws” adding: “I fully expect that the version of the document that eventually comes forward for
discussion and debate will be different to the document that we have in front of us tonight.”