Campaigners toast housing plan victory

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Potton residents battling against what they say is overdevelopment of the area, claimed a victory this week.

It comes hot on the heels of Potton campaigners being asked by police to leave a meeting at Central Bedfordshire Council’s headquarters in Chicksands last week.

The council’s development control committee rejected a plan for 85 homes by Gladman Homes on Wednesday, despite it being recommended for approval by planners.

Residents opposed to the plans for land off Biggleswade Road in Potton, said the area could not cope with the extra traffic and lack of infrastructure. Plans have already been approved for around 240 new homes in the area.

A public meeting in the town last month, attended by more than 100 campaigners including GPs, heard that Section 106 monies from developers would be benefitting Gamlingay rather than the overloaded NHS surgeries in Potton.

Hannah Bartram, who lives on Biggleswade Road, said she was already suffering from traffic noise and mess from site traffic for development already taking place.

“For the people of Potton it feels like a bit of a war with the number of developments,” she told the meeting.

“The town is not designed for the level of traffic it now gets.”

Resident Matt Damsell said houses on Biggleswade Road would be overlooked if the plans went ahead. “We ask that you keep Potton pretty,” he told councillors.

After the meeting Independent Cllr Adam Zerny said: “Potton has suffered a number of inappropriate housing developments completely out of proportion with the size of the town. I wholeheartedly support residents’ right to protest. I am delighted Central Bedfordshire Council have turned down the Gladman appeal for 85 houses on Biggleswade Road.”

The meeting follows on from the council’s Executive meeting last week when campaigners protested about over-development around the town.

More than 40 protestors chanted and waved placards at the meeting.

They were initially refused the opportunity to ask questions but the council then backed down after noise from the protest drowned out the meeting and protestors were given the opportunity to ask a question.

The meeting had to go into 30 minute recess while CBC Chief Executive Richard Carr spoke with protestors and agreed a meeting with senior officers and Portfolio Holders.

Police had to be called to assist security and force protestors to leave before the meeting resumed.