The Central Bedfordshire Council meet on 18th April. Among their deliberations will be a recommendation to accept the Draft Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan Pre-submission (May 2013). This Plan sets out how the Council will meet Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople accommodation needs in Central Bedfordshire until 2018, with aspirational figures to 2031.
This presubmission Plan will be subject to formal consultation. Any representations received will be considered by a Planning Inspector, following submission to the Secretary of State
(anticipated in October 2013). It is expected that following the Examination process and the consideration of the Inspector’s Report, the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan will be adopted in July 2014.
The Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan aims to identify 157 Gypsy and Traveller pitches and 22 Travelling Showpeople plots throughout the CBC area, to be delivered between 2013 and 2031 to meet the accommodation needs of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople, but this Draft Plan has so far only identified a third of the number it requires to 2031. This Draft will tide the Council over to meet theoretical demand to 2018.
Part of the need for sites stems from laid down criteria to meet overdue demand, which it must do by 2018, of 32 pitches (38 new ones less 6 coming back into use), plus another 33 pitches stemming from growth criteria between 2013 and 2018.
A pitch is the space required to accommodate one household and their caravans, parking space and enough room for the turning of vehicles.
Sites so far identified comprise "land west of Barton Le Clay" - a site that could accommodate up to 10 pitches. Drawbacks include the fact that the site is located within the existing Green Belt. The report suggests that the defined Green Belt boundary will be amended in order to accommodate and enhance the deliverability of the site.
"Land south of Dunton Lane, Biggleswade" could accommodate up to 10 pitches. This is located in the open countryside.
"Land east of Potton Road, Potton" could accommodate up to 10 pitches. This site is located within a Biodiversity Opportunity Area and accordingly a net gain for biodiversity will be sought as part of the development.
"Land east of Watling Street and south of Dunstable" would be an extension to an existing privately owned and privately managed site, and could accommodate up to 9 additional pitches in a rural location.
"1 Old Acres, Barton Road, Pulloxhill" is allocated for up to 13 pitches comprising 8 pitches accommodating the current site occupants and an additional 5 pitches. This site is privately owned and occupied and will be privately managed by the current owner.
"Land south of Fairfield" could accommodate up to 10 pitches.
"Land east of the M1, Tingrith" is located within the Green Belt and is currently occupied by a single Gypsy and Traveller family with temporary planning permission for 4 caravans. The site is allocated for up to 4 pitches, to accommodate the current family. This site is privately owned and occupied and will be privately managed by the current owner.
For Travelling Showpeople site allocation is at "Kennel Farm Holding, off Dunton Lane, Biggleswade", a site that will accommodate 4 plots to meet the local need identified in Biggleswade.
The Council will still need to make provision for about another 100 pitches if they are to meet identified Gypsy and Traveller needs in Central Bedfordshire up to the end of 2031.
Full Council Agenda Report and downloadable attachments are available online at CBC Website