Arlesey traveller site causes anger

RESIDENTS in a town have expressed their anger after a group of travellers moved onto a site which has yet to be given planning permission.

The Twin Acres site on Hitchin Road, Arlesey has had an influx of travellers resulting in Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) issuing enforcement and breach of condition notices on the site.

There are currently four static caravans on site but only one of them has planning permission.

Plans have been submitted to CBC for four pitches, an amenity block and parking.

The contentious planning application is to be discussed at next Wednesday’s development management committee meeting at Priory House, Monks Walk, Shefford.

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Chairman of Arlesey Residents’ Association (ARA), Hugh Harper, said: “I will be speaking at the meeting next week and will object to the plans which have been recommended for approval.

“It was agreed as part of the Local Development Framework (LDF) to have 10 pitches at the 197 Hitchin Road site and we feel that this is enough for Arlesey.”

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Mr Harper added: “We feel that by giving the green light for the extra four pitches at the Twin Acres site will not stop there and there could be more applications submitted in the future which could make it all unmanageable.”

The ARA has leafleted the town asking residents to object to the application.

So far Mr Harper has received more than 500 letters objecting to the application which he will present to planning officers at next week’s meeting.

Arlesey Town Council chairman Nick Daniels said: “We deeply oppose any gipsy or caravan sites. We already have one at 197 Hitchin Road and by granting this second site, it would lead to additional problems to access it, have a detrimental impact on the country environment and it is in total contradiction to the Mid-Bedfordshire and now Central Bedfordshire policy for Arlesey.”

Mr Daniels added that one thing that has upset residents in the town has been the lack of enforcement by CBC.

He said: “Despite the notices work has continued to take place on the Twin Acres site and no enforcement has taken place.”

Cllr Nigel Young from CBC said: “There is one pitch at Twin Acres. A planning application has been submitted seeking consent to replace the original caravan and add four additional caravan pitches, with an amenity block and associated parking and hardstanding.

“Conditions of the original planning permission for one site have been contravened so the council has issued an enforcement notice and a breach of conditions notice, which would seek to remove the unauthorised development from the site. These notices can be reassessed in the light of the development management committee’s decision next week.”

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