Travellers’ site growth plan leads to protest

The Kingswood Nursery at Tilsworth... Photo: Google
The Kingswood Nursery at Tilsworth... Photo: Google

Villagers are signalling their opposition to a partly retrospective planning application for a travellers’ site.

Land at Kingswood Nursery in Tilsworth is already occupied and a partially retrospective application for five static and five touring caravans has been made to Central Bedfordshire Council.

One villager said: “It is causing huge concern for local villagers in relation to highways issues, disturbances and the overbearing nature of the site in such a tiny village.”

The proposal was made on behalf of the applicant and his family to live at the site, with some family members described as currently homeless. According to the design and access statement: “The site lies within the greenbelt but is an established residential site, as the owner and applicant previously made a successful planning application for this property.

“During the construction of the site, the applicant has used ground which was previously developed land, the site was previously a nursery and had a couple of buildings situated on it.

“The site lies approximately 350 metres from the built up area of the village of Tilsworth, on the north western side of Dunstable Road which leads from the village to the A5. The site is roughly L shaped and adjacent to the highway.

“The site is bounded to the east by open land. To the south west the site is bounded by the Evergreens Site which has six authorised pitches. The land rises to the north west towards Tilsworth Golf course beyond.”

In all, 27 neighbours have been consulted about the application by Central Beds Council, with 17 letters of objection received. One villager told the LBO: “There are three sites in Tilsworth, with Kingswood being the latest.

“Within a five mile radius of the village church, there is around 60% of Central Bedfordshire’s traveller population. It is a minority of this population that now causes the issues.”

Joseph Jones, agent for the application, said: “It would have very limited impact upon the village as it’s on the very edge of it. It hasn’t been green belt for many years. There was an appeal decision a few years ago that said that former nurseries are not the same as a piece of virgin land.

“It’s already a gypsy site and it’s essentially an application for an extension of its current use.”

A decision is expected to be reached upon the application by April 3.