11:00 Wednesday 09 January 2013  Written by BY MARTIN FORD

Potential Central Beds traveller sites revealed

A FROSTY reception has greeted an announcement of the sites that could become gypsy and traveller sites in Central Bedfordshire.

A “long list” of 35 sites, including land on the fringes of Potton, Sandy, Stotfold and Arlesey, has been revealed by the council as it sets about providing future sites for caravans and mobile homes in the area.

However, the sites to be developed, each providing up to 10 pitches, will be whittled down by councillors next month ahead of public consultation in the spring.

Currently, 135 pitches need to be provided by 2031 in the area, although further research is likely to be carried out to update this figure following a meeting on Thursday next week.

Four of the possible sites are located around Potton, in Bury Hill, Everton Road, Potton Road, and Wrestlingworth Road. There are another four near Sutton and two near Dunton, in the same council ward as Potton.

Councillor Adam Zerny said: “For Potton ward to have 10 of the 35 proposed sites seems remarkable when there are 31 wards in Central Bedfordshire. It seems odd that the council says there won’t be a public consultation on the list of sites until after it has been approved by the council in April. I’d like to see the public consulted on the list now.”

Also included are sites off Wrayfields, north of Arlesey Road and off Hitchin Road in Stotfold, and another south of Fairfield in Stotfold Road.

The mayor of Stotfold, Cllr Brian Collier, pointed out that two of the sites are close to rivers and streams posing a risk to pollution and flooding and held concerns over the effect on the road network.

He said: “All of the site are on very busy roads and the site in Stotfold Road is at the bottom of a dip in the road, so there will be traffic problems.”

Another site in West Drive on the outskirts of Arlesey was not welcomed by Cllr Rita Drinkwater. She told the Advertiser: “There have been quite a few sites come up recently - Arlesey has had its fair share. There is a long way to go before we are anywhere near to allocating sites and I would need to understand the arguments on either side, but I will do what I can to support my residents and take into account what they say.”

A possible site has also been proposed off Georgetown Road in Sandy.

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