Gipsy site proposal way off the mark, say residents

UDC deputy leader, Cllr Susan Barker, said the council is not proposing any sites at this moment in

UDC deputy leader, Cllr Susan Barker, said the council is not proposing any sites at this moment in time. - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council has been accused by residents living near a proposed gypsy and traveller site of “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole”.

Uttlesford District Council has been accused by residents living near a proposed gypsy and traveller site of “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole”.

Less than a fortnight remains of the district council’s public consultation on gypsy sites, and a new action group has sprung up in Arkesden and Wicken Bonhunt to register opposition to a potential site.

‘Five Acres’, a field of that size between the two villages, has been earmarked for up to 12 pitches in the report by Peter Brett Associates – a site that new opposition group FALCA (Five Acres Local Community Action) claim is inherently unsustainable.

“It’s a field that sits between two villages, on an ancient protected lane,” a FALCA spokesman told the Reporter. “The area floods at least three or four times a year, and caravans are particularly vulnerable to flooding.”


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He added that with two caravans possible on each pitch, this could lead to 24 caravans on the site – and therefore potentially around 100 extra residents.

“The Five Acres site often floods and sits in flood zone 3, normally grounds for an automatic rejection as to suitability and sustainability,” the action group said in a statement.

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“The site […] does not provide safe pedestrian access, the local schools have little or no capacity, there is no public transport and there is limited relevant employment nearby.”

Although the site has been earmarked for 12 pitches, in actual fact only nine pitches in the district are set to be allocated by 2018, and a total of 26 by 2033, spread over a number of sites.

These are located in Hempstead, Takeley, Radwinter End and Bartholomew Green.

District council deputy leader, Councillor Susan Barker, said: “Peter Brett was asked to examine the sites put forward by people, as well as the existing sites.

“Having got this report back, we are going out to consultation.

“We are not proposing any sites at this moment in time.”

The public consultation closes at 5pm on Monday, February 2.

Comments and enquiries on the site options can be emailed to planningpolicy@uttlesford.gov.uk.

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