A proposal to build a permanent travellers site on the edge of Brighton is due to be discussed by councillors this afternoon (Thursday 15 March).
The ruling Green cabinet of Brighton and Hove City Council is expected to agree that 16 pitches should be built at Horsdean in Patcham.
If agreed, the proposal will then be decided a meeting of the full council next Thursday (22 March).
The Greens do not have a majority and could be outvoted by the Conservatives and Labour as happened at the budget and council tax meeting last month.
The proposed site at Horsdean is already home to 23 transit pitches and expanding the site has already attracted opposition.
The opposition Conservative group leader, Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, who represents Patcham ward, said: “It’s wholly inappropriate to put a transit site and a permanent site next to each other.
“It’s in the South Downs National Park and if we mean anything by the park then you have to question that.
“When the bypass was built it was supposed to be a corset around the city.
“We were told that there would be no development north of the bypass. That’s why Brighton and Hove Albion couldn’t build a stadium at Waterhall.
“When the transit site was being considered, it was vigorously opposed by the national park authority’s predecessor, the South Downs Joint Committee or the South Downs Conservation Board.
“There are also concerns about the safety of the water supply. There’s an aquifer underneath the site and it runs right across the site.
“I would want to be assured that the Environment Agency had looked into this. Concerns about the possibility of contamination have been raised with me.”
If the site is agreed by the council, it would still require planning permission which would be decided by the national park authority.
The council and national park authority worked together to choose the site having assessed about 50 possibilities in and around Brighton and Hove.
The proposal for a permanent site forms part of a three-year travellers strategy being discussed by the cabinet this afternoon. To read the strategy, click here.
The council was awarded £1.7 million by the government to create a permanent site in Sheepcote Valley. But the land was found to be too heavily contaminated.
The council is not yet sure whether it will be able to keep the money to fund the new site which is in Braypool Lane, Patcham.
Travellers living on the site, close to the junction of the A23 London Road and A27 Brighton bypass, will have to pay rent and council tax.
If approved, it is likely to open late next year or early in 2014. Even then, it is not expected to meet the total demand.
The council expects to still have to deal with illegal camps in public parks and open spaces, albeit fewer of them. It intends to continue tolerating camps on certain sites.
The three-year strategy also aims to reduce community tensions and improve relations between travellers and residents.
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