No rules for traveller in new site at Astwick

The traveller site, and inset, hardcoring of the field
The traveller site, and inset, hardcoring of the field

Travellers who began construction on a field without planning permission have been banned from further works and from adding any extra caravans to the site.

Four caravans are currently parked in the field near the village of Astwick and situated close to Tudor Oaks off the A1.

The caravans are home to a single family who purchased the field and they are believed by local residents to come from the Arlesey traveller site.

On the afternoon of Friday, September 18, the gate of the field was removed as two caterpillar excavators began clearance work.

Stotfold resident Doug Pearson said: “It’s completely outrageous.

“Any other person doing that would be locked up and sued.

“We’ve been through five years of campaigning, and every step of the way Stotfold has been deemed unsuitable for a traveller site.

“To take a gate off on a Friday afternoon, they’ve done that knowing the council will be away over the weekend.”

Central Beds Council, Councillor Steve Dixon, later organised a visit by planning enforcement officers who visited the site and ordered an immediate halt to all work.

Nevertheless, on Sunday the three caravans parked on to the field and clearance work resumed with the laying of a hardcore base on the entrance without planning permission.

There is no water, drainage, electricity or sewer connections to the field. Main access to the site is a sharp turning off the A1, north of Tudor Oaks.

It is understood the travellers have applied for retrospective planning permission for the work that has been carried out.

Mr Pearson added: “There seems to be two sets of rules, one for one part of the community, and one for another.

“The longer it stays there, the longer it acquires a sort of permanence.” Jason Longhurst, director of regeneration at Central Beds, acknowledged a number of complaints had been received.

He said: “Work at a site in Taylor’s Road, Astwick, over last weekend was carried out without planning permission.

“We issued a Stop Notice to the site owners on Monday afternoon, preventing any further activity on site.

“We have obtained a High Court injunction that was served on Tuesday evening to prevent any further incursions into the site beyond the four static caravans and single family now there.

“Any breach of that injunction would constitute a contempt of court.

“We have been liaising with the parish council, local residents and police with regards to this site and we will continue to do what we can to address unauthorised development on this site.”