Public say no to gypsy site

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Hundreds of angry people turned out to a public meeting this week to object against proposals to build Gypsy and Traveller pitches in a village.

Around 400 people attended the public meeting at Maulden Village Hall on Monday night to discuss the proposal that has been included in a list of 35 possible sites in Central Beds Council’s Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan.

The council has put forward the 60-acre area on New Road as a potential site for up to ten pitches

Maulden Parish Council chairman Eileen Brown said: “The meeting was absolutely packed, we had to turn some people away. It shows the strength of feeling in the village against this site.”

The packed-out public meeting on Monday saw the three Central Beds Councillors Michael Blair, Paul Duckett and Mark Smith outline their plans as to how they intend object to the proposal at a sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee meeting on February 28 where all 35 sites will be discussed.

A working sub-group called Maulden Against Development (MAD) was also set up and members will be raising awareness of the issue in the village and distributing leaflets about the proposal.

Group member Hannah Pryce said: “Whilst Maulden may only be a small village, its community is larger than life. We will work together to ensure this proposal does not become a reality.”

Concerns about the proposed site that were discussed at the meeting included lack of infrastructure and local amenities, and the impact on wildlife in the area that has been suggested for development.

Parish council chairman Eileen Brown said: “We are quite upset that they have proposed a site in the village and we are very concerned about it.

“We were delighted with the turnout in the village hall. I think most people went away saying they thought it was a good meeting.”

She added: “We have already lost two pubs and post office, we have no sewerage or gas down that end of the village. Maulden just cannot support it. Another big thing is the wildlife on that site.

“The Wildlife Trust has written to us saying that it would really affect the habitats there at the moment and there is a rare plant there called the Bob Pimpernel, which is the only one in Bedfordshire.”

The group is now urging local residents from Maulden and surrounding villages to write to the council with their grounds of objection.

Other sites in the plan include Westoning, Silsoe, Haynes, and Flitton.

Anybody wanting further information should contact