A holiday caravan park approved by councillors will inevitably turn into a permanent Travellers' site, villagers fear.
About 100 people turned out to confront representatives from South Cambs District Council after it passed plans for a 20-space touring caravan park in Caldecote last month.
They predict the St Neots Road site will be mainly used by Travellers rather than tourists as the applicant, Nelson O’Connor, is a Traveller living in Fen Road, Cambridge.
They say conditions such as limiting periods of stay to 28 days will do nothing to stop that happening, and that an “absolutely dire” consultation process did not allow them to fight their case properly.
Barraged with questions and heckled by furious villagers, Cllr Nick Wright, cabinet member for planning, economic development and tourism, attempted to defend the council’s decision at a fiery public meeting at the village hall.
He said: “I was happy to support the application on the grounds that it is very accessible to the American War Cemetery and Cambridge itself. It will provide a useful site for tourism in the area.”
The application was made for a holiday park, not a Traveller site, and the council could not infer any intention for the site from Mr O’Connor’s ethnicity, he said.
Cllr Wright added conditions would be “rigorously” enforced by the council, which had followed the planning process “entirely properly”.
The Conservative said: “We have lots of touring caravan parks and as far as I know none of them has become travelling sites.”
But residents rounded on him and the council, saying they had “very little faith” in the council being able to stop people staying at the site for more than 28 days, or in its ability to protect the village’s character and the welfare of residents.
Colin Fotland, who has lived in the village for a quarter of a century and is treasurer of the social club, said after the meeting: “I have no problem with a touring caravan site, but I have no confidence whatsoever that SCDC will police it properly to stop it becoming a Traveller site.”
One resident, who lives in Highfields Road and did not want to be named, said: “We are worried that this could be the next Dale Farm. The council does not seem to have the teeth to do anything or want to put any money into enforcement. There are not a lot of happy bunnies in Caldecote.”
The News contacted agents for Mr O’Connor, who said he had obtained “valid planning consent”.