PLANS for a new gipsy and traveller site in Stafford have met with a mixed response from residents and businesses.
The decision to locate the site in North Stafford, security of businesses on a neighbouring industrial estate and the effect on local homes were just some of the issues raised as Stafford Borough Council put plans on show at Stafford Rangers Football Club on Tuesday.
More than 100 people attended the event, where council officers were on hand to talk to residents about why they were proposing the campsite for the council-owned land, off St Albans Road.
A planning application is due to be submitted next month for the site, which would have space for up to 36 caravans.
Mr Manders added that the camp was to be for gipsies and travellers looking to stay in the Stafford area, who have connections with families on the existing campsite near Hopton, and was not for gipsies and travellers where were just passing through.
“Everyone seems to realise the site at Hopton is well-managed and doesn’t cause any issues.
“There is the question of ‘why here, why not anywhere else around Stafford?’ We only have a few sites around Stafford and the only one in the south is off Baswich Lane, but the roads are unsuitable.”
But Stuart Brown, who owns Autovogue, a successful prestige car dealership on St Alban’s Road Industrial Estate, and Darren Goode, who owns neighbouring Castle Lighting, said they were worried about the security of their premises if the plans went ahead.
Mr Brown said: “We are currently looking to employ more staff but I’m concerned about safety and security for my staff.” Mr Goode added: “I can’t see how there can be such a development next to an industrial estate.”
Julie Pye, who lives near the site, said she was concerned about the loss of habitat for local wildlife including rabbits, minks and birds.
But others have welcomed the plans, saying the site is needed in the Stafford area.
Jane Proudman said: “Sounds good, a permanent site with proper facilities and waste collection. Much better than squatting where they are not wanted and having to clear up all of the mess left behind them.
Michael Newbold said: “We all have to live somewhere. Good idea.”