Sunderland site being considered for gipsy camp?

Councillor Chris Fairs shows the site at Toll Bar, Ryhope, which residents suspect is being considered for use by travellers.
Councillor Chris Fairs shows the site at Toll Bar, Ryhope, which residents suspect is being considered for use by travellers.
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CAMPAIGNERS have raised concerns over a potential site earmarked for gipsies.

Ryhope residents fear derelict land, near Toll Bar junction, is one of 15 possible traveller stop-over sites council chiefs are looking at using across Wearside.

Sunderland Council says no sites have yet been confirmed, but people living nearby claim they have seen workers on the land installing utilities.

As well as fears that if given the go-ahead it may lead to a fall in house prices, concerns have been raised over the siting of the area, which is in between the Southern Radial route and Ryhope Road.

Ryhope councillor Chris Fairs said: “There have been major concerns raised with me by members of the public, over plans for a potential traveller site near the Toll Bar on the site of what were, until they were recently demolished, derelict council-owned retail units.

“I’m aware through feedback from residents that many are worried about the impact on house prices.

“Indeed, there is a new development of houses currently for sale in the local vicinity.”

The potential site has also been dubbed dangerous and an eyesore by Coun Fairs.

“These potential plans are highly contentious for a number of reasons, particularly in relation to access to the site for both pedestrians and vehicles is not suitable, as it is situated next to a main junction,” he said.

“In light of these issues, I would argue that the site is not appropriate for residential development of any kind, being both dangerous to passing traffic as well as future residents – and offering such residents a low quality environment.

“I was informed recently by a council officer that the site was not going ahead. However, residents have noticed work going on at the site.”

Coun Fairs added that he urged the council to secure the site until a decision has been made, to prevent it being used illegally.

Alan Caddick, head of housing at Sunderland Council, said: “There are no plans to build a permanent site for travellers in the city.

“We will continue to consider options for a transit site and if any appropriate site exists, but no locations have been confirmed.”

He added: “All local authorities have a responsibility to meet the needs of gipsies and travellers, as part of their continual housing market and accommodation assessments.”