Central Bedfordshire Council’s Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee has recommended some changes to the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan and list of sites.
Councillors met to recommend how many new Gypsy and Traveller pitches will be needed and where they should be.
The committee heard from 12 residents at the meeting (14 January) when they considered the results from last year’s public consultation and a new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA). They discussed making changes to the possible site locations as a result of the feedback.
The committee recommended to Executive a that a compound household growth rate of two per cent for the Gypsy and Traveller community be used. This would lead to a requirement for or 131 pitches until 2031 for Gypsies and Travellers.
Members of the committee also recommended that one of the shortlisted seven sites be dropped (at Potton) and another swapped for a nearby location between Biggleswade and Dunton, on Dunton Lane. Site 26 in Dunton Lane will replace the nearby Site 55.
Recommended sites and number of proposed pitches on each are:
• Land West of A6, South of Faldo Road and West of Barton-le-Clay – 15 pitches (additional five pitches)
• Land South West of Park Corner Farm and South of Dunton Lane – replaced by Land south of Dunton Lane and west of Dunton - 15 pitches (additional five pitches)
• Land East of Potton Road and South of Ram Farm – removed from short-list
• Land South of Fairfield and West of Stotfold Rd – 10 pitches (no change)
• Land East of M1, Tingrith – 4 pitches (no change)
• Land E of Watling Street and S of Dunstable – 9 pitches (no change)
• 1 Old Acres, Barton Road, Pulloxhill – 13 pitches (no change)
Kennel Farm Holdings, to the east of Biggleswade, was recommended separately as a site for accommodation for Travelling Showpeople (no change).
The six proposed sites equate to 66 deliverable pitches that would meet the need for the first five years of the Plan, The council’s Executive will consider the proposal on 21 January and it will go before Full Council and then out to full public consultation for six weeks.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Economic Development said: “From the new assessment of need, we feel the evidence points towards a smaller two per cent annual growth rate within the Gypsy and Traveller community, so our planning for the future reflects that.
“We’re acutely aware of the significance of this debate for both the settled and the traveller communities but we have a legal duty to provide appropriate accommodation. The committee’s recommendation means we’ll need to provide 131 pitches until 2031.
“We considered the sites in some detail after receiving really useful feedback in last year’s public consultation. The recommended sites will provide 66 pitches. The remaining required pitches will be delivered through “windfall sites”. We will continue to monitor the provision of Gypsy and Traveller sites against the requirements we have agreed."
“Now the new suggested list and draft Local Plan will go before Executive and Full Council in January and then will be open for another round of public consultation in February or March. We’ll let people know when that is due.”
If approved, the draft Local Plan and site allocations will then go to the Secretary of State for consideration, along with the results of the consultation. Examination Hearings will then be held where anyone who wants to make representations can have their views heard. Meeting dates and updates will be posted to the Gypsy and Traveller pages of our website – www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/gypsytravellerplan