A chief member of the Gypsy and Traveller community has slammed a council for being ‘too scared to be unpopular’ over caravan pitches.
Joseph Jones, who is a spokesman for the National Gypsy Council, said Bedford Borough Council hasn’t done enough to provide locations for the community and says it’s no surprise that more Gypsies are taking to the roadside.
Mr Jones was responding to opposition to his friend’s Patrick Murphy application for a Gypsy site in Felmersham and said that villagers there would find the family friendly.
He said: “I don’t think Bedford Borough Council is a bad council. It’s just like all councils around the UK where every time a Gypsy site is proposed there’s opposition and officials are too scared to be unpopular and the applications are rejected. The only choice families have is to lump all their money together buy land and live on it privately. While report after report is done on Meadow Lane there are Traveller families waiting to live there and they are effectively homeless.
“The people of Felmersham will find Mr Murphy and his family more than friendly if they get to know him. They’ll be surprised.”
A decision is expected to be made on whether to grant permission for three pitches at the site in Carlton Road next month.
A borough council spokesman said: “A decision will be taken on the Stone Pits in line with the council’s Planning Policy.
“The applicant has been asked to submit further information and, as we are pending a response from the applicant, no date has been scheduled in terms of an outcome. In the meantime, the council is pressing ahead with plans to seek planning permission for a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site at Meadow Lane.”