08:00 Friday 27 December 2013

Town could 'cope' with European arrivals


Councillor Richard Grosvenor Councillor Richard Grosvenor

BURTON is well-equipped to deal with potential arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria when EU restrictions are lifted, council bosses have insisted.

From January 1, changes to EU restrictions on movement is likely to see more Romanians and Bulgarians heading for Britain.

Concerns have been raised that the move could see services put under further strain.

While new schools and thousands of houses are in the pipeline for Burton to serve a soaring population, the leader of Conservative-controlled East Staffordshire Borough Council Richard Grosvenor said he does not envisage huge problems in what he said was already a multicultural town.

He admitted that further immigration was likely to impact on services, but believes the town can cope.

Staffordshire County Council has previously said Burton was the area most in need of school places.

But Mr Grosvenor said: “As the community expands, it will always impact on services we can deliver.

“But in terms of the local plan, Burton and East Staffordshire is seen as a growth area, so we have factored in migration as part of the evidence.

“Burton has always been a big welcoming community for minority groups. We have a large eastern European contingent in Burton.

East Staffordshire’s Labour leader Julian Mott said it was impossible to predict how many Romanians and Bulgarians would arrive but that there had been a lot of ‘scaremongering’.

He said: “I think we will be able to cope, but there will be pressure on services, of course there will. I certainly agree that someone who has just arrived form another country should not be able to claim welfare as soon as they arrive.”

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