New Basildon traveller site plan met with disapproval

First published in News by

RESIDENTS whose lives have been blighted for 21 years by failed plans for a huge business park say proposals to build a traveller site nearby are the final straw.

People living in Gardiner’s Close, Basildon , were dismayed to learn of proposals for a 13-pitch traveller site on land previously set aside for a multimillion-pound business park.

They say their lives have been on hold ever since the business park was first mooted in 1991.

The plan has repeatedly been put on ice, but never completely ruled out, making matters worse. Now they fear proposals to create a traveller site for some of the families evicted from the illegal Dale Farm site in Crays Hill last October, will further devalue their properties. Gardiners Close resident Catherine Blackwell said: “This has been going on for 21 years. “If something had actually happened in the Nineties, we would have all moved on by now, but to just keep dragging it on and on has been devastating.

“If they now put a traveller site up here it will be the final straw.”

She and her neighbours argue they have been unable to improve their properties or get on with their lives with the threat of the business park plan hanging over them.

However, Cassie Rowe, manager of the Culpepper Club, a line dance and country music club, in nearby Gardiners Lane South, said: “It all sounds like it is in the early stages, and I am sure there are covenants that don’t allow caravans. I won’t believe anything until the plans are concrete. We have been messed about for 20 years and they have spent millions, but nothing has happened.”

The business park has planning permission, but has been bogged by a lack of funding and problems in finding new sites for six sports and social clubs, including the Culpepper Club, which would have to be relocated.

Last week the Echo reported travellers’ leaders had met the agency and council to discuss a possible site for families who are living illegally next to the legal traveller site at Oak Lane, Crays Hill.

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