Tipton recycling centre to make way for travellers?

A PIECE of land near Tipton St John has been earmarked as a possible home for gypsies and travellers, casting doubt over the future of the area s recycling centre.

A PIECE of land near Tipton St John has been earmarked as a possible home for gypsies and travellers, casting doubt over the future of the area's recycling centre.

It is believed East Devon District Council has identified the county council owned Woods Farm Recycling Centre, which may close, as one of four areas suitable for housing gypsies and travellers in its bids to meet Government demands to provide a further nine pitches by 2011.

It is thought land less than a mile away at the Bowd, Sidmouth has been deemed suitable as well as a site at Iron Bridge, near the A30, Honiton, and a field near Exmouth's recycling centre in Salterton Road.

Because proposals are still in their early stages, the size and development of the potential sites is yet to be decided.

A Devon County Council spokesman said no decision has been made over closing Woods Farm, for which planning permission expires in 2012, but it is "not deemed suitable to cope with increasing volumes of recyclable material."

Tipton aside, the proposed sites are privately-owned and the owners of the land are being notified of the district council's proposals by letter.

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If the landowners co-operate with the district council, it is believed the land will be purchased by the county council with government cash earmarked for gypsy and traveller sites.

It is not thought landowners will be pressured to sell - and the district council will be forced to put forward new sites if deals for the four currently identified fall through.

The Herald was told this week: "East Devon District Council will notify the landowners and wait for a response.

"If the landowners are unwilling, the council will have to look for other sites. The council has a statutory duty to provide sites.

"The council has been looking at dozens of sites all around the area. These are the sites they came up with."

An EDDC spokeswoman said the nine extra areas must be identified to join 13 existing privately-owned pitches.

Gypsy and traveller site provision in East Devon was an ongoing consultation exercise under the council's local development framework proposals - and options identified as a result of recent public consultation and other studies will soon to be put before EDDC's development control committee.

Recommendations of that meeting will go forward to the executive board.

The EDDC spokeswoman said: "The proposed sites will be the subject of further public consultation before identifying locations that would accommodate EDDC's quota of pitches.

"At this stage we cannot comment on speculation as to the possible location of any of the optional sites.