The meeting on March 14 was the first step toward a public consultation that will be held in the next months, to decide where the gypsies and travellers will be allowed to park their caravans, and have access to water and electricity.
There are three sites that are considered to be suitable to host the gypsies: Industrial Units, 52-58 Lower Marsh Lane, Kingston; land at Apsley Road and Wellington Crescent, New Malden; the Kingston Boys Club and adjacent land, Hampden Road, Kingston.
Darren Richards, head of Planning and Transport for the royal borough of Kingston, said: “All our work at the moment is to consider the various options and find the best solution both for the English Gypsies, the Irish travellers, but also for the local communities.”
The draft of the Development Plan Document has been approved and it is set to be presented for public consultation.
The presence of the English Gypsies in the Hook Rise North does not seem to create any problem to locals, which seem to have very sporadic contact with them.
An employee of a nearby nursery said: “We never had any problem whatsoever. They always stay in their area and I never saw them going around too much.”
A local football club’s employees, Mark (25), said: “I can only speak for us. We never had any problem with them. They never come here, and they never interfere with us. Usually people think that they cause only problems wherever they go, but I have to say that they are really peaceful and I never heard anybody complaining about them.”