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City Hall's gypsy relocation targets slashed by Boris

PUBLISHED: 14:14 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:44 25 August 2010

THE Mayor of London has slashed the number of gypsy and traveller sites he promised across the capital by nearly half. Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that Bexley s travellers sites would only go up by seven and not by the 27 originally promised and

THE Mayor of London has slashed the number of gypsy and traveller sites he promised across the capital by nearly half.

Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that Bexley's travellers' sites would only go up by seven and not by the 27 originally promised and by 16 in Greenwich instead of the 32 planned.

These proposed changes to the London plan, which takes down the new sites in the capital to 238 from the promised 538, are because the targets were not attainable, according to the Mayor.

He said: "In light of the feedback we received it was apparent that the targets we had proposed could not be justified, nor achieved.

"I want to make real progress in improving on the capital's poor record in increasing the provision of sites for the Gypsy and Traveller communities, but there is no point setting targets that will clearly not be delivered.

"This is a complicated issue, with many factors to be taken into account, and I am confident that what I have put forward now strikes the right balance between deliverability and addressing need, and sets an ambitious agenda for all involved."

These proposals will now be part of a seven-week public consultation. Already, the body which represents all 33 boroughs across the capital, London Councils, said they welcomed the decision.

Chairman of London Councils Merrick Cockell said: "The Mayor's announcement today of a revised number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches is welcome as it clearly shows that Boris is listening to the boroughs.

"These more realistic targets, proposed as part of Boris' minor amendments to the draft London Plan, show the Mayor is responding to the boroughs' legitimate concerns on this very sensitive issue."

But the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit has said the original figure of 538 fell well short of the 808 that the Mayor's own survey of Traveller accommodation needs had recorded.

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