MP has 'serious concerns' over plans to expand a travellers’ site near Lutterworth
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A new scheme to expand a travellers’ site near Lutterworth is being seriously questioned by South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa.
Alberto said he has “serious concerns” over the contentious blueprint to make the Mere Lane site in the village of Bitteswell bigger after he has been lobbied by a “high number of worried constituents”.
The application proposes to change an existing traveller pitch and stables into five additional pitches at the well-established location.
Alberto has now written to Harborough District Council, the planning authority, to voice his fears.
The Conservative MP said he was acting “to reiterate the concerns of my constituents and outline my own objections under the district council’s Local Plan which states that their provision for gypsy/traveller sites has already been fulfilled”.
“I am determined to make sure that the concerns of all of my constituents are heard fairly and squarely.
“We have had ongoing concerns with the levels of criminality and disturbances around the Mere Lane site for the last five years that I have been the local MP,” Alberto told the Harborough Mail.
“I want to stress that the majority of travellers and people who live there are fine and totally law-abiding.
“It’s a minority of travellers who are causing the problems.
“I have heard a constant stream of concerns and worries from my local constituents about Mere Lane since I was elected the local MP.
“Harborough District Council are well aware of their concerns too.
“We have had disturbances and thefts in the locality – and even gunshots ringing out over the years.
“Mere Lane has been a real and genuine source of anger among residents in Bitteswell and surrounding villages for years,” said Alberto.
“I have raised their concerns with Harborough council previously.
“A lot of local people are very frightened and intimidated.
“Many are too scared to drive down Mere Lane – they’ve even had stones thrown at their cars.
“So I totally understand why people are frightened.
“And they certainly don’t want the site to be made even bigger.
“I sincerely hope Harborough District Council recognises the level of concern and anxiety many residents have about these proposals.
“I have every faith that the council will provide this application with the scrutiny it deserves and arrive at the proper decision,” insisted the MP.
Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, told the Mail: “This is a live planning application.
“Mr Costa is representing his constituents’ views and I respect that.
“But clearly no decision has been made about this particular planning application yet.
“It is still very much under consultation.”
He added: “We will look at all the arguments for and the arguments against.
“The application will be thoroughly evaluated by our planning team.
“Our officers will then make a recommendation and our planning committee will consider the plans at some point in the New Year.”