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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > April 2013 > Planning application submitted

Planning application submitted for gypsy and traveller site

Bedford Borough Council’s ongoing work to meet assessed gypsy and traveller accommodation needs while protecting unsuitable sites from unauthorised encampments is continuing with the submission of a planning application to create a 14-pitch gypsy and traveller site on land to the west of Paula Radcliffe Way (A6) known as Fairhill.

 

The Council is legally required to make provision for pitches for gypsies and travellers in line with the assessed need, with 14 more required by 2017 in addition to the extra six already being delivered at the existing Kempston Hardwick site.  The Council was successful in winning external grant funding for these pitches, and has also applied successfully for funds for the remaining 14 pitches.

 

Planning permission is in place for a 14-pitch site at Meadow Lane, and detailed design work is continuing at that site. There are still some technical issues to resolve before finalising the design and therefore in confirming a start date. Given the urgency of bringing forward the provision to meet the recognised local need and the importance of taking advantage of the grant funding available from the Homes and Communities Agency within the timescale set as a condition of the grant, the Council has been investigating whether there is an alternative site which might be brought forward more quickly. If the Council does not act to deliver the 14 additional pitches required, it may be unable to prevent the granting of permission for the development of less suitable sites across the Borough.

 

In the meantime, the Council continues work to bring forward the use of part of the Meadow Lane site as a temporary stopping point for gypsies and travellers.  This will support the efforts of the Council and police to move on unauthorised encampments where they appear. This is part of the more effective, robust approach to dealing with unauthorised encampments which the Council has introduced, which has also included physical protection of vulnerable public open spaces.

 

Councillor Sarah-Jayne Holland, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “We have a legal requirement to make provision for the identified need for gypsy and traveller pitches in Bedford Borough. That is why we have extended Kempston Hardwick and secured planning permission to create a site at Meadow Lane, with external grant funding obtained successfully to support the delivery of these sites.

 

“However, there is an urgent need to deliver further gypsy and traveller provision in the borough in order to meet the local need as well as take advantage of the funding provided by the Homes and Communities Agency. Officers have therefore been investigating the possibility of bringing forward an alternative site more quickly.

 

“The work on Fairhill will continue alongside the work on Meadow Lane and whichever project can be taken forward the quickest will be progressed.”

 

The planning application will now be considered by officers who will make a recommendation to planning committee in due course.

 

The consultation period for responses runs until 24th April. The application number is 13/00598/DC3

 

If you would like to have your say and respond to the planning application, you can do so either:

Online: http://www.publicaccess.bedford.gov.uk/online-applications/ type in 13/00598/DC3 click on SEARCH, then click on MAKE A COMMENT (you will need to register)

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