A shortlist of Gypsy and Traveller sites has been approved by Central Bed Council’s executive committee.
Councillors unanimously voted to approve the sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee’s suggested list of sites for the new Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan.
This includes Site 55 near Dunton, Site 58 by Potton and Gamlingay, Site 76 in Fairfield Park and, for Travelling Showpeople, Site 82 near Biggleswade.
The list also includes sites near Barton-le-Clay, Tingrith, Dunstable and Pulloxhill.
Several members of the public spoke against the chosen sites prior to the vote.
Terry Sweeney said Site 76 would be dangerous because of its proximity to the blue lagoon. He also said that there would not be enough capacity at the school. Another speaker said that the road visibility by the site entrance would not be good enough to meet safety requirements.
Donna Bridley, the tenant on the land for Site 55 , said: “It should score zero for using such high grade agricultural land. How is taking our high grade land and developing it a healthier lifestyle than using a brownfield site?”
Will Wiley spoke against Site 58 on behalf of his client, Phil Bacon, who lives next door to the proposed site. He said: “We fail to see how the council has put it in the top seven sites.
“It’s high grade agricultural land and there’s no footpath so walking to Potton is not possible.
“It’s one of the worst sites in the entire assessment. This is without reason or judgement. You should go back to the drawing board.”
Mrs Barnett, whose family farms the land at site 58, said they have already had to move once to make way for the neighbouring quarry. She said: “We have been moved once and we strongly object to doing so again.”
Councillor Nigel Young said that safety measures will be put in place to ensure that site entrances are not dangerous. He added that sites would be sustainable in the middle of villages, with footpaths and services to hand but this would not suit the travelling or settled populations.
Full council will discuss the recommendation next month and there will be a formal consultation in May.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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