Arlesey gipsy site given green light

PLANNING permission for a permanent gipsy site has been granted, despite opposition from a residents’ association and town council.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) development management committee met this morning (Wednesday) to determine the application from landowner Mr Rooney, who lives on the site in Hitchin Road, Arlesey.

Three-year temporary consent for four pitches with a maximum of eight caravans on the site was approved in November 2009.

However, the site currently accommodates six pitches and 12 caravans and Mr Rooney was seeking permanent planning permission for these pitches and caravans, which he says will be used by his family.

Councillors granted planning permission following a report from council officers that said: “There is no unacceptable impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside; the amenities of nearby residential properties are not unacceptably harmed; and a safe, convenient and adequate standard of access can be provided.”

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Arlesey Town Council had formally lodged opposition to the application with CBC, citing “inappropriate development and serious concerns for highway safety”.

Arlesey Residents’ Association and neighbours objected to the proposal on grounds which included that “the applicant has flouted planning laws with the introduction of several caravans” and that a caravan site next to a cemetery is inappropriate.

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Other responses received by CBC raised concerns about an increase in traffic, the site access being dangerous, and flooding problems.

Hugh Harper, chairman of Arlesey Residents’ Association, said: “We are disappointed because we felt that it should have been refused.

“In the Local Development Framework it could go up to 10 pitches.”

The Local Development Framework is a planning strategy, currently being compiled by CBC, which will set out the development of housing, jobs, shops and community facilities in the area over the next 20 years.

Philip Brown, Mr Rooney’s agent, said: “It’s a long-standing family site and it’s for members of his own family only.

“All it’s doing really is granting permission for a development which has already taken place.”

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