More sites needed for gypsies and travellers in Sheffield

Sheffield will need extra pitches for gypsies and travellers over the next few years but the sites are not yet decided.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 12:30 pm

Sheffield council is currently working on its Local Plan, a blueprint for how the city will develop over the next 15 years.

Housing is a key part of the document and the council has a legal requirement to allocate sufficient sites for gypsies and travellers.

The council’s latest assessment shows a need for an extra 44 pitches.

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Travellers set up camp in the car park of Thorncliffe Health and Leisure Centre, in High Green, in 2019. Picture: Marie Caley

The gypsy and traveller population in Sheffield is around 340 people – 100 households – who live on two long term sites in Halfway and Lodge Moor, or in permanent housing throughout different parts of the city.

Long Acre View, at Halfway has 14 pitches and Redmires Land ,at Lodge Moor has 16 pitches.

Sheffield Council says: “There are not enough authorised pitches to cater for the current and projected future demand.

“The sites we already have cannot be extended as they’re not located on suitable land – Redmires is in green belt land and Longacre is on light industrial land which is now not suitable for further residential use.

“We’re currently looking for suitable potential land in the city and we’ll release the list of suitable options once they’ve been agreed.”

The council says an “extensive consultation” will be carried out with the local community and gypsies and travellers to give everyone the opportunity to voice their views.

“It is better for all members of the community if a site can be identified by agreement following consultation in suitable locations,” the council adds.

“By taking a positive approach we can have greater control over the identification of a site. If a site can be identified through the planning process it would prevent the need for illegal encampments which can cause conflict with the settled community and can cost us money if legal action has to be taken.”

The last census found the gypsy and traveller population who live in bricks and mortar accommodation are concentrated in mainly the Burngreave, Arbourthorne and Darnall wards.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.