Second gypsy site in Arlesey given the green light

Residents in a town have been left disappointed and angered after a contentious planning permission for a permanent gypsy site was granted, despite opposition from residents’ association and a town council.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s development management committee met on Wednesday to determine the controversial application for the Twin Acres site in Hitchin Road, Arlesey.

More than 50 residents turned out against the plan with some jeering from the public gallery when the chairman, Cllr Alan Shadbolt announced the decision.

Consent was given for replacing an existing static caravan and the siting of four additional static caravans, an amenity block and parking.

The site, on the western side of Hitchin Road, is the second gipsy and traveller site in the town. The other is at 197 Hitchin Road.

Councillors granted planning permission following a report from council officers despite the council’s highways department stating the “existing access to the site is hazardous and presents a risk to the safety of the occupiers at the site and drivers using Hitchin Road”.

Speaking after the meeting, chairman of Arlesey Town Council Nick Daniels said: “I’m more than disappointed for the community of Arlesey that it has been approved.

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“I think the site is over and above the approved amount of gipsy and traveller sites for Arlesey in accordance with the Local Development Framework.”

Arlesey Residents’ Association received more than 600 signatures objecting to the application.

Its chairman Hugh Harper said: “We feel we had good grounds for refusal especially on the safety of pedestrian way.”

Mr Harper said he feared this application would open doors for further pitches in the area.