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Consultation on Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan

Time to have your say on the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan Residents now have the chance to give their views on the plan which includes a ‘short-list’ of new gypsy and traveller sites in Central Bedfordshire, as a public consultation on Central Bedfordshire Council’s draft Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan was launched today (Monday, 20 May). The plan sets out how the accommodation needs of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople will be met in the area up until 2031, as well as detailing the planning policies against which all planning applications for these sites will be assessed. The consultation runs between Monday, 20 May and Monday, 1 July. The easiest way for residents to give us their feedback is via an interactive version of the Draft Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan which can be found on our Gypsy and Traveller webpage http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/gypsytravellerplan. This web page provides instructions on how to give your feedback online, links to all supporting documentation and some Frequently Asked Questions, for respondents to reference. However, feedback on the document can also be given using a paper form which will be available at all Central Bedfordshire Council offices and our libraries. Residents should then either send their completed form to FREEPOST RSJS GBBZ SRZT Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan, Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Beds, SG17 5TQ, or scan and email it to LDF@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Strategic Planning and Economic Development), said: “We know the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan is of considerable public interest and now is the time for residents to have their say. If you’ve made comments before, please reiterate them, so we can ensure they are taken into account in this part of the process. “I must stress that as we will be passing on all representations made to the Planning Inspector, residents need to ensure their comments are based on the level of ‘soundness’ and legal compliance of the plan, as these are the criteria the Planning Inspector will be assessing it under. If these terms don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry, as definitions are provided on our website and in the supporting documentation with the paper forms. “Essentially, legal compliance relates to whether the document has been prepared in accordance with planning regulations and ‘soundness’ refers to whether the document has been prepared correctly and is the most appropriate Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire, when compared against alternatives.” Residents are advised that if they do not indicate on the comments form whether or not they feel the plan is ‘sound’ or legally compliant, the council is required to fill in this information on behalf of them based on their responses to the other questions. ENDS The ‘short-list’ of seven proposed sites accommodates an estimated 66 possible pitches that would help to fulfil the need for the next ten years. These are: * Land E of Watling Street and S of Dunstable (Site 92) * Land W of A6, S of Faldo Rd and W of Barton-le-Clay (Site 16) * Land S of Fairfield and W of Stotfold Rd (Site 76) * 1 Old Acres, Barton Rd, Pulloxhill (Site 116) * Land SE of Park Corner Farm and S of Dunton Lane (Site 55) * Land E of M1, Tingrith (Site 78) * Land E of Potton Rd and S of Ram Farm (Site 58) Travelling Showpeople * Kennel Farm Holdings, E of Biggleswade (Site 82) The plan is to provide for a total 157 Gypsy and Traveller and 22 pitches for Travelling Showpeople in the period up to 2031. These suggested sites will meet only part of that need and the council will meet the remaining allocation required through major development proposals, windfall sites (unexpected applications) and current live applications or appeals. All submissions made as part of this upcoming consultation will be provided to the Secretary of State, who will appoint an independent Planning Inspector to examine the Plan and process. A public examination will follow in early 2014 after which the Planning Inspector will make his final ruling – either to support the Plan or ask the council to look at it again. The site recommendations were based on three waves of assessment, visits by councillors and comments and feedback received from the community. For further information please contact: Tom Skinner on 0300 300 5738

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