Villagers pack gipsy site meeting

PUBLISHED: 10:14 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 11 May 2010

Campaigners near the proposed gipsy site in Spring Lane

Campaigners near the proposed gipsy site in Spring Lane

ALMOST 300 villagers crowded into a meeting to oppose gipsy and traveller sites being built on their doorsteps. Many of the residents of Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth, who filled the venue at Bassingbourn Village College, registered their interest in becomi

ALMOST 300 villagers crowded into a meeting to oppose gipsy and traveller sites being built on their doorsteps.

Many of the residents of Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth, who filled the venue at Bassingbourn Village College, registered their interest in becoming part of the protest campaign which is gathering momentum in the village.

Mike Reeve, one of the meeting's organisers said: "Attendees left the meeting in a positive and determined mood.

"We had a presentation outlining how Spring Lane emerged as a chosen site from the 42 sites originally considered by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

"Vigorous audience participation raised a whole range of questions and concerns."

Among those attending were county councillor Linda Oliver, and Bassingbourn's district councillor Nigel Cathcart.

Cllr Cathcart said: "Huge concern has been expressed to me on this issue. I shall take those concerns to the district council and try to find a solution."

The land at Spring Lane is one of several areas in South Cambridgeshire identified as a potential location for some of the 88 additional gipsy and traveller pitches which need to be built in South Cambridgeshire by 2011.

A site at New Farm, off Old North Road, Whaddon, is also on the shortlist.

The district council is currently holding a consultation period, and anyone who feels they may be affected by the proposals has until October 9 to express their views.

Part of this consultation process is a series of exhibitions on the gipsy and traveller site plans, and one of these was also held in Bassingbourn last week and drew much interest from locals.

A district council spokesman said: "There was strong local interest in the exhibition at Bassingbourn, with more than 500 people attending.

"People expressed a range of views and officers were able to help them engage with the process, explaining the issues considered in the planning consultation and how they could record their views."

Bassingbourn Parish Council will be making a response to the plans after their meeting on August 4.

Anyone wishing to contact the council may do so via the village website, www.bassingbourn.org.

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