Growing protest over gipsy sites

PUBLIC anger at the possibility of having a gipsy or traveller site on their doorstep is growing among residents in Lower Stondon. Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) began the official consultation on its shortlist of sites with two being in Comet country

PUBLIC anger at the possibility of having a gipsy or traveller site on their doorstep is growing among residents in Lower Stondon.

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) began the official consultation on its shortlist of sites with two being in Comet country at Hitchin Road, Arlesey, and on land in Hitchin Road, Henlow, opposite RAF Henlow and next to Derwent Lower School.

The Henlow site is causing the most controversy as the Arlesey area has already been supported by the town council.

The protest is growing fastest in Stondon with 2,300 residents signing a petition in less than a month against the Henlow site.


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This week housewife Sarah Smith revealed she had set up a website for people to protest on and in five days had 800 signatures.

"This shows without a doubt the feelings of people around here," said Mrs Smith of Pollards Way, Lower Stondon.

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"The public reaction is overwhelming and against having a gipsy or traveller site next to a school and the number of people who have signed the petition just shows the strength of feeling in the village.

"We will fight these proposals and now is the time for people to urge the council to drop this site. It is in the wrong place and hopefully our campaign will force the council to drop it and find an alternative site."

The petition will be presented to councillors at an executive meeting of CBC next Tuesday.

Henlow Parish Council is also against the proposals that will be discussed at the annual parish meeting tonight (Thursday).

Tim Wiles, chairman of the council said: "Henlow Parish Council still considers this site to be unsuitable for a number of reasons and we will be putting those points forward to Central Beds.

"We are still investigating some possible land ownership and environmental issues with the proposed site and finally, we will be looking to enlist the support of our new MP, as soon as we know who they will be."

The next edition of the Henlow parish magazine will contain details about the consultation that will last for six weeks, as well as contact details for those people that parishioners may wish to contact about the proposal.

The mailing list for Lower Stondon is campaigntravellers@googlemail.com and the on-line petition is http://www.gopetition.com/online/34520.html

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