A PERMANENT travellers’ site has been given the final go-ahead.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced it will not block the planning application for 12 permanent residential traveller pitches at Horsdean in Brighton.

Brighton and Hove City Council will now be able to go ahead with its plan to create the site which extends an existing traveller transit site just to the east of Patcham, on the north side of the A27.

The 12 new permanent pitches will be alongside 21 retained transit pitches. Each permanent pitch will consist of space for a static caravan and other vehicles and there will be a kitchen, bathroom and dayroom in an amenity block.

The plans were put on hold when Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, said he was calling the decision in.

But his department has now given the go-ahead.

Councillor Pete West, chairman of Brighton and Hove City Council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “I am relieved the secretary of state has stopped thinking about calling this in, so we can now get on with building these much needed additional traveller pitches.

“The impact unauthorised encampments have on local communities cannot be underestimated, coupled with the expense of eviction.

“The permanent site will help ease this issue and give greater stability for travelling families and strengthen links with the local community.

“By adding pitch capacity it will also reduce the likelihood of unauthorised encampments.”

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) resolved to grant permission on February 13.

Trevor Beattie, chief executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “It is good that the secretary of state, after close scrutiny of the reasons for our decision on this application, has agreed not to call it in.

“This vindicates the approach taken by the SDNPA and Brighton and Hove City Council.”

The plans were drawn up by the council and have been funded by a government grant.

The plans will also see the council’s traveller liaison team move to a building on site.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, who was against the site, said: “There remain major concerns around both water quality and drainage and the fact that the council will be creating a sizeable new settlement in the South Downs National Park.

“This comes just a week after the decision by Unesco to designate the Brighton and Lewes Downs area an international biosphere.

“The secretary of state has put the ball back in the council and the National Park Authority’s court to resolve these water problems and they must now seek all the local knowledge and expertise they can to work up a viable drainage and sewerage system.”