A private site at Bidwell, Houghton Regis, offered to Central Bedfordshire Council as a potential Gypsy and Traveller site, has scored well in terms of its suitability for a site. Only one other site in the study scored more highly, while one other site scored equal. All other sites in the study scored less.
Central Bedfordshire Council have a statutory duty to identify gypsy and traveller sites. The Council is currently deliberating over 36 sites and have identified a need for 158 pitches to be spread among a number of different locations throughout Central Bedfordshire.
The report to go before the Sustainable Communities Committee on February 28th has this conclusion to make about the Bidwell site:
"The site would impact negatively on the landscape and is located within the Green Belt. There is potential for archaeological remains to be found on site and there maybe a negative impact on biodiversity. Development of this site could encourage healthier lifestyles and the use of sustainable transport systems. A smaller site than the 36 pitches requested would be more sustainable and in keeping with national policy that advocated smaller family sites."
In other reports to go before the committee, it is stated that "In the first 6 year period (2013-2018) 66 pitches are required to address the backlog of need and household growth." Another 92 pitches are required to meet expected future household growth from 2018 to 2031.
Under the Equality Act, public authorities have a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and foster good relations in respect of nine protected characteristics; age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The Sustainable Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee meets at Chicksands on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 10.00 a.m. Copies of the agenda and background reports are available to download from Central Bedfordshire Council website. hrnd.
|June 2012: Illegal encampment on Tithe Farm recreation ground was partly |
caused through the Council's failure to designate sufficient legal sites.