Coventry & Warwickshire

Potential traveller site may 'close' exhibition centre

The owner of an exhibition centre in Warwickshire fears it could close if a traveller camp is built next door.

Land next to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, near Leamington, is one of 20 sites earmarked for official pitches by Warwick District Council.

The centre claims it lost potential bookings after the area was listed by the authority. A travellers' spokesman said it was a "complicated issue".

A public consultation on the proposals is under way and runs until 29 July.

'Perceived reputation'

The council wants to create 31 pitches for caravans across the district and 15 of them could be located opposite the centre on Fosse Way.

Chris Deith, the owner of the centre, said if the land was picked it would have an impact on business.

He said: "We will gradually decline in usage because of the close proximity of the site and the perceived reputation of it.

"People are going to stand back and say 'that exhibition centre's not right for our company'."

Damian Le Bas, editor of Travellers' Times, said locals had a right to state their concerns.

"It's incredibly difficult for a council to find anywhere where people are happy about the site," Mr Le Bass said.

"Whether it's in a rustic idyll or perhaps next to a conference centre, it doesn't actually matter. People will just rather sites didn't exist at all."

Businesses and residents from the surrounding area are due to meet councillors and local MP Jeremy Wright at the centre to voice their concerns later.

The council said it was unable to comment on individual sites while the consultation was taking place.

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