COUNTY councillors expressed concerns as they adopted a new plan for gipsy and travellers’ sites.

Herefordshire Council agreed a the development plan at full council last week.

The new proposals identify extra pitches for sites at Grafton, Lower Bullingham, Bromyard and Pembridge.

The plan also includes an extension to a private site near Bosbury, which was recently granted planning permission.

There will also be a temporary stopping place on the A49 on outskirts of Leominster for travellers passing through the county.

Infrastructure and transport cabinet member John Harrington said the plan will form part of the council’s core strategy.

“It requires us to identify a five-year supply,” he said.

“It’s a statutory responsibility that we have as a council.

“The plan has gone out for consultation with traveller and gipsy communities, our services, fire services, police, local parish councils and residents.

“We’ve not increased our static sites; we’ve just increased the amount of pitches in some of the sites.

“Not by huge amounts, and the inspector has asked us in the forthcoming review of the core strategy, which we have started, to identify a slightly larger number.

“What we have done that’s different, is we’ve got an additional temporary stopping place on the A49 which is for travellers and gipsies who would like to continue being nomadic in their lifestyle.”

Councillor Roger Phillips said it was a sensitive matter that went to the very heart of local elected members acting as community leaders and on community cohesion.

“I’ve worked with my local parish council at Pembridge on the plan for additional pitches and they will be supportive of that.

“They will not support, and we will resist, further expansion as it is disproportionate in what is a very rural area and I think common sense would follow that.”

He also raised concerns over the proper management of such sites and raised concerns over potential road safety issues to the north of the Pembridge site.

“The community has supported this policy. What the council needs to do is also support it by putting proper investment into the management of these sites,” he said.