PLANS are underway to reopen a former gypsy and traveller site in Bedford as an alternative to Meadow Lane after ‘technical issues’ arose causing delays with the site.
Bedford Borough Council is applying for planning permission to establish a site at the junction of Paula Radcliffe Way and Clapham Road behind Sainsbury’s superstore. Up until 1994 there was a gypsy and traveller site on the land but it was closed that year by the now defunct Bedfordshire County Council.
The Fairhill site would include 14 pitches, 14 day units, a manager’s office, access road, fencing and ancillary works.
As reported in our sister paper Bedfordshire on Sunday in February, due to issues with water and drainage the Meadow Lane site, which was given planning permission last year, has been delayed.
As a result the authority is looking at Fairhill as an alternative although the council claims it is still working to bring forward Meadow Lane as a temporary stopping point.
Cllr Louise King, for Harpur ward, said: “While we understand there is a requirement for a well managed gypsy and traveller site within the borough, it is our view that Meadow Lane remains the best opportunity to deliver this and we aren’t convinced that the opportunity for developing it has been fully explored.”
Harpur Resident Ian Nicholls added: “I expect an open, full and frank public discussion to ensure that this proposal is properly looked at. Local residents must have their views listened to, especially as the former traveller site at this location had difficulties.
“I believe there are sound planning reasons to refuse Fairhill.”
Councillor Sarah-Jayne Holland, said: “There is an urgent need to deliver further gypsy and traveller provision in the borough in order to meet the local need as well as take advantage of the funding provided by the Homes and Communities Agency. The work on Fairhill will continue alongside the work on Meadow Lane and whichever project can be taken forward the quickest will be progressed.”
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