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New gipsy site plans for Camden

PUBLISHED: 12:36 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 07 September 2010

Emma Seymour PLANS for six new gipsy and traveller pitches in Camden will take away valuable land needed for housing, according to politicians in the borough. The Mayor s London Plan requires the allocation of 538 new pitches across the capital by 2017 in

Emma Seymour

PLANS for six new gipsy and traveller pitches in Camden will take away valuable land needed for housing, according to politicians in the borough.

The Mayor's London Plan requires the allocation of 538 new pitches across the capital by 2017 including six in Camden.

But politicians argue there is not enough space for the sites, with land needed for affordable homes already scarce.

Camden Labour housing spokesman, Cllr Roger Robinson, said: "We have very little land if any left in Camden for housing or for leisure services, there are no leisure facilities.

"I can't think of anywhere in St Pancras and Somers Town. There is absolutely no land left at all for that.

"Our responsibility is to the people who live there and we need the land for housing. We must keep it for the 17,000 people on the waiting list for re-housing."

The plan sets out provision for new gypsy sites throughout London from 2007 to 2017.

As well as calling for new pitches in Camden, it sets targets of 22 in Barnet, 25 in Haringey and two in Westminster.

London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, Brian Coleman criticised the process of imposing the targets from City Hall. He said: "The whole idea of top-down pitch targets is completely wrong. It should be communities telling the mayor how many pitches they can provide, not the other way around.

"The mayor needs to stand-up for London and refuse to pass on the Government's bureaucratic targets for new gypsy sites.

"Being forced to provide more gypsy and travellers' pitches will place a massive financial burden on councils. It will cut the amount of land available on which to build new affordable homes, which are desperately needed to tackle London's housing crisis."

Government guidance on gipsy and traveller pitches states an average size pitch would be 200 square metres.

Camden Council said it had been asked to provide between two and five pitches for travellers, with an extra two for travelling show people.

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