Go-ahead for gipsy site south of town
Proposals for a gipsy and traveller site near Houghton Regis have been scrapped, but another site south of Dunstable has been given the go-ahead, following a packed meeting.
Central Bedfordshire Council wanted to agree 157 new gipsy and traveller pitches to meet government requirements up to 2031.
But only 66 were agreed, which Councillor Nigel Young, cabinet member responsible for the gipsy and traveller strategy, said would meet the council’s need to supply land for the next 10 years.
More than 2,500 letters had been sent to the council after a long list of potential sites was announced in January.
Explaining the council legally had to provide housing for gipsy and traveller families under the Housing Act 2004, policy advisor Richard Bennett said: “After March 2013 if you don’t have a five year land supply and up-to-date policy you will be expected to grant temporary planning permission for any site.”
He said gipsies and travellers were the most socially excluded group in the country.
and suffered from poor education outcomes and health issues such as high infant mortality rates.
But there were shouts of “rubbish” and “don’t be stupid” from members of the public when he said travellers were no more likely to commit crime than settled people.
It was agreed that nine pitches should be at Green Vale in Watling Street, south of Dunstable, where a number of traveller families already live and a caravan sales business operates.
“The site is already integrated into the local community and there is plenty of scope for additional screening,” representative Roger Shrimplin told the meeting.
“It is close to the A5, M1 and M25. Even though it is in Green Belt it ought to be an easy choice for you.”
Villagers in Bidwell were relieved after their site was not taken forward.
One Roslyn Way resident said: “Of course it’s the right decision.
“They should never have considered it in the first place.”
Another said: “I think it’s like a lot of things – you get good and bad – but I wouldn’t want them on my doorstep.
A Plaiters Way resident added: “Good – keep them away from here. One less thing to worry about.”
In addition to the sites agreed on Thursday, Councillor Young said a further 10 pitches might be included in the development of 5,000 new homes to the north of Houghton Regis, but would not necessarily have to be in that area.
He said he was also considering a site for travelling showpeople at Thorn Turn on the A5, where Central Beds is also planning to build a waste transfer station
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Weather for Luton
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 24 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
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