‘Uproar’ at plans to add tenants to Potton traveller site

Louise Sharland stands behind the two new plots
Louise Sharland stands behind the two new plots

An angry mum claims Central Bedfordshire Council has broken a promise to families living in a crowded encampment.

Mum-of-four Louise Sharland lives at the Potton Traveller Site off Common Road with her in-laws.

She believed her situation would change with two new plots being added this year – to house her and two other families already on the site.

But Ms Sharland, 28, says she has now been bluntly told by CBC that new tenants will occupy the plots as well as two other recently vacated spaces on the site.

She said: “It’s disgusting. The whole site is in uproar at the minute.

“Our problem is the site is overcrowded, there’s three families including myself without any space or facilities. It’s bursting at the seams with people sharing and it seems CBC don’t want to solve the problem already existing.

“They want to add more people, more tension, more overcrowding.”

Ms Sharland said that families living on the site were contacted by CBC over a year ago about adding new plots.

She said: “We were informed by the warden that there were two new plots to be built for the overcrowding on the site. She said it would be for myself and two other families here.

“I’m staying with my children’s grandparents, we don’t have any running water facilities or our own toilet.

“So when they said they were going to build the two new plots for us, everyone including the villagers agreed so long as it was only for the overflow on the site.”

To make way for the plots, a disused children’s play area was cleared and Ms Sharland said the council approached her in-laws about using some of their garden.

“Because it was for me, her family – she agreed to give up the majority of her garden. Now this has happened. We’ve been told by the new warden that the plots have been allocated to new tenants.

“Even the villagers are absolutely disgusted. I’m here with my in-laws because I have nowhere else to go. I have three girls aged nine, seven and five sharing a double mattress.”

Ms Sharland claims the site’s warden told her she didn’t “have a chance in hell” of getting one of the plots.

In response to Ms Sharland’s complaint, a CBC spokesman said: “There are currently two vacant pitches and two pitches nearing completion, as a result of significant investment on the site.

“The allocation process has not yet been completed and none of these four pitches have been allocated at this time.

“We would encourage people wanting to live on the site to contact the council directly to apply.”