Meeting to block site plan
HUNDREDS of villagers are expected to attend a special meeting to demand plans for a travellers’ site are scrapped.
Protesters will make their voices heard at a public meeting to examine Huntingdon District Council’s proposals to create a gypsy site at Great Drove, Yaxley.
MP for North West Cambridgeshire Shailesh Vara has already urged that the scheme for 22 gypsy sites across the county are dropped.
And several Yaxley residents have formed a group, called Residents Against Inappropriate Developments, or RAID, to fight the plans.
Yaxley parish councillor Ann Rees said the majority of the 12,500-strong population was up in arms about the proposed site.
She said: “It is in the most inappropriate place on a flood plain, next to a railway line and a deep dyke. This proposed site is a habitat for birds, animals and reptiles. You cant just plonk people anywhere, these are human beings and should be treated as such.”
A 42-year-old resident from Windsor Road, Yaxley, said: “The feeling in the village is very strong. We have the infrastructure of a village when we have the population of a small town. It’s hard enough getting doctors appointments now and there are only three schools. There is a factory nearby with juggernauts going up and down. The safety of the people living there will be compromised.”
Suggestions for suitable sites have been put forward to the council by private and public landowners. The East of England Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) – which set out how many homes and travellers’ sites must be built in the region by 2021 – stated 46 extra permanent pitches plus 10 transit pitches are needed in Huntingdonshire. However, the new government is axing the strategy to hand over more control to local councils.
Mr Vara says this means HDC should re-think its travellers’ site plans. He has visited the site and believes it is unsuitable for reasons including flood risk and strain on infrastructure.
He added: “It does not serve the interests of either the local community or the travellers intending to reside here.”
But councillor Doug Dew, executive councillor for strategic planning at HDC, said: “The abolition of targets in Regional Spatial Strategies does not mean that the need for gypsy and traveller sites has gone away.”
The meeting takes place tomorrow at Queen’s Park on Daimler Avenue, Yaxley at 7pm.
There will be a exhibition at Queens Park on July 15 from 2pm.
The council has extended the deadline of the public consultation by 11 days to July 30 in response to the strength of feeling.
HISTORY BUFF: Local author John Kemmery has launched a new website to promote his book, The Jackdaws of Crowland. (METP-24-06-10AS101)