County’s gypsy sites in new ownership

Buckinghamshire County Council has confirmed the sale of its five gypsy and traveller sites as going concerns.

The sale comes at the end ofa year-long engagement process with residents, and officers have been visiting all of them to bring them up-to-date with information about the sale.

The sale of the council’s five gypsy and traveller sites as going concerns tonew owners was authorised last month by Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment Warren Whyte.

Since 2004, he said,the County Council has had no legal responsibility to provide gypsy and traveller accommodation, although it has continued to do so. However budget pressures and lack of funding to invest in the sites meantthe best long-term optionwas to sell them to residents or another landlord as occupied gypsy and traveller sites.

Warren said: ‘The decision was based on the bidders’ experience, their policies and procedures, and their knowledge and understanding of the residents’ needs. We’ve worked hard to ensure that site residents have the same level of confidence in the new owners that they had when we managed the sites.’

Legally, there is no risk to residents’ homes because pitch agreements under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 protect their residency rights.

The sites at Green Park (Amersham), The Orchards (Chalfont St Peter), Mansion Lane (Iver), Wapseys Wood (Gerrards Cross) have been sold to Best Holdings, acompany managing residential caravan parks across the country. Bottom Waltons (Burnham) site has been sold to local businessmen Stephen Devonshire.