Call to move Greenacres travellers to Thorn site by new tip

Greenacres
Greenacres

Calls are being made to relocate travellers from Greenacres to a site outside of Little Billington as Central Bedfordshire Council continues its public consultation.

According to Billington Parish Council, residents have recommended Thorn Turn – a large piece of land off the A5 where a Tidy Tip is also being built – in the absence of any alternative site being put forward by CBC yet.

CBC is currently carrying out a public consultation on proposals to acquire Greenacres and nearby The Stables for £9m and replace them with a council-managed gypsy and traveller site.

During an open forum at a Billington Parish Council meeting, it was confirmed that CBC had yet to publicise an alternative site for Greenacres and that land ownership is not clear, with plots transferred over a handshake without being registered.

Moving travellers from Little Billington to Thorn Turn was also discussed as residents had urged the council to support the idea.

Billington Parish Council chairman Helen Thompson said: “There are a lot of options available, but I think ultimately it’s going to be in Little Billington, hopefully not in such numbers.

“Thorn is a big piece of open land. And the A5 is their traditional, historic route.”

Government plans currently stipulate that traveller sites should not be near running water or electricity sub stations, or railway lines.

At last month’s police and crime panel attended by councillors from all three Bedfordshire local authorities, calls were made to toughen up the police’s stance on tackling traveller crime.

At the meeting, Leighton Linslade Town Cllr Tony Morris said: “Leighton Linslade has been suffering with continual problems caused by travellers and gypsies.

“It appears these problems are widespread across the country. Why are the Police failing to use legislation that is available to them under Sections 61 and 62?”

Mr Morris said police commissioner Kathryn Holloway was notably absent from the meeting, but a representative from her office responded that the concerns would be passed over to the chief constable.

Cllr Morris told the LBO that Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Councils all have individual processes for dealing with travellers and he recommended a county-wide approach in order to assist police.

The public consultation over Greenacres ends on Tuesday, November 14.

To view the council’s proposals in full and submit comments, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/council/consultations/billington/overview.aspx

Central Beds Council will review feedback and make a decision about the next steps at an Executive meeting on December 5.