Traveller and gipsy site talks

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Central Bedfordshire’s gipsy and traveller draft local plan, which includes proposed new sites, will go under the microscope at meetings this month.

Central Beds Council says that it will look at a number of points raised during last year’s extensive public consultation.

Now the councillors will talk through any possible changes before the draft plan progresses any further.

In this area, the draft plan which went out for consultation last year proposed nine pitches at Green Vale, on the A5, south of Dunstable, where a number of traveller families already live, and a caravan sales business operates.

The plan sets out how the accommodation needs of gipsies, travellers and travelling showpeople would be met until 2031.

It also details planning policies against which planning applications for sites would be assessed.

A fresh round of full public consultation will be held following this month’s meetings, to allow everyone to have their say on any updates or potential changes to the draft local plan.

Central Beds executive councillor Nigel Young, who has special responsibilities for strategic planning, explained: “We wanted to act to strengthen our draft plan so took the opportunity to consider whether any changes are appropriate and, at the same time, to update our gypsy and traveller accommodation assessment (GTAA).

“Now that we’ve done that, we will discuss the GTAA and consultation feedback at special overview and scrutiny and executive committees on January 14 and 21.

“After that, we’ll take any changes to full council on January 30.

“We want to make sure that people can have their say on any changes or updates to the draft local plan, so we will have another full public consultation around February to March.

“And we’ll submit those responses to the Secretary of State with our draft plan by June this year.”

The first of this month’s meetings looking at the draft plan will be held by the sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee on January 14.

That agenda can be checked out on the council’s website,

Councillors will discuss the relevant documents at all three meetings and speakers will be welcome.

The full six-week public consultation will then get under way.

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