From the Windsor Express
A major fight back has started against controversial plans to overide greenbelt policy by creating new sites for Travellers in three villages.
At a meeting of the Royal Borough's planning and housing scrutiny panel yesterday councillors voted unanimously to oppose their officers' plans to extend existing Traveller sites in Mill Place, Datchet and Pool Lane, Waltham St Lawrence - while developing land at Pickin's Piece, Horton to provide a new site.
They sent a clear message to the authority's ruling cabinet members who will make a decision later this month.
Royal Borough mayor Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) - who owns Bekyn Manor Farm - said: "I used to farm land next to Mill Place and had to stop because my staff were being attacked. The site was a no go area for police."
Wraysbury parish councillor Philip Jackson - given permission to address the borough meeting - said that 80 per cent of Travellers in the Royal Borough were already based in the Wraysbury, Horton and Datchet area.
He clearly believed the situation contributed to crime in the area, saying: "There has been an epidemic of shed break-ins. My family has suffered six and has spent a fortune on gates, fences and security. No-one has been caught."
Cllr Rayner's colleague Cllr John Lenton (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) said: "Extending the site in Horton would destroy the centre of the village."
Former mayor Cllr Jesse Grey (Con, Datchet) warned that extending the Datchet site would create a 'ghetto' rather than enabling Travellers to intermingle with the surrounding community.
Ultimately there was anger that officers were recommending an overturning of greenbelt and flood policies rigorously enforced against ordinary people who put in planning applications.
Councillors made it clear they wanted cabinet members to ask officers to go back to the drawing board when they met on June 27.