Anger over gipsy site proposal in Clifton

A parish council chairman has slammed proposals for a possible gipsy and traveller site in the village. Cllr Barry Livesey of Clifton Parish Council said Central Bedfordshire Council s (CBC) handling of the proposals in New Road and the way the parish cou

A parish council chairman has slammed proposals for a possible gipsy and traveller site in the village.

Cllr Barry Livesey of Clifton Parish Council said Central Bedfordshire Council's (CBC) handling of the proposals in New Road and the way the parish council has been treated was "scandalous".

"This is the only way to describe how we have been treated," said Cllr Livesey.

"The site is at the entrance to the village that has been the best kept village in Bedfordshire for three out of the last four years but I doubt whether this has been considered. It is intolerable and a disgrace the way this has been handled."


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Clifton Parish Council will be holding a special meeting tonight (Thursday) where councillors will discuss a plan of action how to fight the CBC proposals and how to keep residents informed.

"We must organise ourselves and keep residents informed," added Cllr Livesey.

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"When sites like this are proposed there are always adverse comments like people fearing a fall in house prices and an increase in crime. Central Beds say there could be five or six pitches on the site but what is a pitch? We need more information.

"This proposal is opposite an existing caravan park and people there are seriously frightened and justifiably so."

Arlesey Town Council is not opposing plans for a possible site in Hitchin Road as it already has planning permission for four pitches.

CBC said after a meeting of the sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee on Monday that three of the 11 shortlisted sites would not be considered but those in Clifton and Arlesey would remain.

Cllr Tom Nicols, CBC portfolio holder for sustainable development, will now make the final decision on which sites will be put out for public consultation.

"Views from the local community are vitally important to this process and we are encouraging local people to take part in this consultation and raise their comments on potential sites in their area," said Cllr Nicols.

"I would like to stress to residents that no final decision has been taken on gipsy and traveller sites for Central Bedfordshire and there is still a long way to go in the process."

The full public consultation is due to start on January 25 and will run for six weeks.

The need to secure an extra 40 gipsy and traveller pitches follows Government advice and fulfils CBC's requirements under the Housing Act 2004 where all local authorities are required to develop a strategy which addresses the needs of the travelling community.

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