I was pleased to read the report about the plans for a permanent gypsy and traveller site in Brighton and Hove (The Argus, July 3). However, according to the accommodation needs assessment, it is 11 to 14 pitches that are required, not 20.

As I am sure your readers know, nationally 25% of gypsies and travellers have nowhere they can legally stop as there are not enough sites. The Government has now said councils must provide sites and is paying for them to be built.

As the report pointed out, gypsies and travellers will pay rent like any other council tenant in return for the services provided. Any site will have to be in a suitable, safe and healthy location and the place mentioned is just one of the locations being considered and may, or may not, be the most suitable.

Let's urge the council to get on with it and build a site as soon as possible. This will be much better for everyone than just moving people on in an endless and expensive merry-go-round.

I would like to make it clear that the three councillors for East Brighton, which encompasses Sheepcote Valley, have not been informed by council officers or members of the Conservative cabinet of any proposals to locate a permanent site for travellers on the former BMX track.

No reasons have been given for removing the item on the provision of traveller accommodation from the June 12 and July 10 cabinet meeting agendas, nor has any notice been given of a "special meeting" later in the month to decide the issue.

Residents who have inquired about this matter have had either incomplete or no responses at all from the council leader or cabinet members responsible.

This is a sensitive issue which requires careful handling and early consultation with all parties, including residents, travellers organisations, local amenity groups like the Friends of Sheepcote Valley and elected representatives.

Sadly, and despite pledges to be "open and transparent", the city council's Conservative cabinet has so far brought its handling of this issue seriously into question.

A couple of weeks ago, I emailed Geoffrey Theobald, cabinet member with responsibility for travellers, asking him why the meetings I had attended as a representative of the Friends of Sheepcote Valley to discuss traveller issues had stopped once he was in charge.

Having not received a reply, it was re-sent with added questions as to why walkers in the area had spotted council officials surveying the BMX track.

Now I learn in The Argus why there was silence. They propose to put a permanent travellers' site for up to 20 pitches there.

I would like to ask Councillor Theobald how he can equate this with the core strategy for travellers?

This states that "the sites are of a decent standard, equitable to that which would be expected for affordable housing in the settled community" and "sites should not be on significantly contaminated land". How then can it be acceptable to use this landfill site which still requires methane vents in the vicinity?

Would you build affordable housing next to a waste transfer station, within metres of the boundary of the proposed South Downs National Park and in an area which has been designated a site of nature and conservation importance?

  • June Evans, Eastern Road, Brighton