Burnley traveller site - ‘if the price is right’
A LANDOWNER has branded Burnley Council ‘cheeky’ after it identified his farm as a possible permanent site for travellers without asking him.
Oathie Sykes, who owns Spa Wood Farm in Billington Road, said he had owned the land for 11 years but never been approached about using it as an authorised camp.
But Mr Sykes, who now lives in Cumbria, said he would be willing to let the council use the site, if the price was right.
The farm was highlighted as a potential site for up to 28 caravan pitches by a draft update to the authority’s Local Plan, which will be discussed by councillors tomorrow night.
Mr Sykes, 47, said: “It’s a bit cheeky that they haven’t spoken to me.
“I did know they were looking for somewhere but I never thought any more of it.
“I’ve been trying to sell the land for a while but I’ve just a lot of interest in renting it.
“It’s a good place, out of the way, and could be made into a good authorised camp.”
Mr Sykes, a traveller who works in property maintenance, lived at the site with his family for 11 years before leaving Burnley last April.
He said he was willing to enter into talks with the council regarding the three-acre site.
“The roads need a bit of work but if they were fixed up it would be no problem,” he said.
“It’s a good place for families and is already used by some travellers on an unauthorised basis.
“I never had any grief there and I never gave any grief out. I pay my taxes.
“If the council make me an offer they’ll have to make it worth my while.
“It’s the only land we’ve got – all our savings went into that place.”
The report — Burnley’s Local Plan: Issues and Options — bases the need for traveller accommodation in the borough on a study carried out by the University of Salford in 2012.
A Burnley spokesman for Burnley Council said: “The council’s executive is being asked to approve an options consultation document which will go out to public consultation in February/March.
“It does exactly what it says in the title — it sets out a large number of options, not firm decisions, for consultation and we want as many people who have an interest to come forward and give their views and suggestions.”
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