New Kneesworth Community Group

July 4, 2011

The Kneewsworth Community group fornmed to represent the Kneesworth ansd wider villages in the A1198 proposal has been formed and details can be found on http://kneesworthcommunitygroup.wordpress.com

 


Update: 20TH January 2011

January 24, 2011

Following the successful campaign to remove the proposed gypsy and traveller site in Spring Lane from the list of site options, attention has now turned to the situation regarding the “old market” site on the A1198.

The owner of that piece of land has indicated to South Cambridgeshire District Council that it might be made available for a gypsy and traveller site. The district council has decided to undertake an assessment of the site after which it will be decided whether to take the opportunity further, including a public consultation. It is by no means certain that the site will proceed but it is nevertheless essential to take action now.

The current leaders of the Action Group called a meeting last week in the United Reform Church in South End Bassingbourn with the purpose of updating residents and identifying what actions were needed. Residents living in the vicinity of the site were informed about the meeting and invited to attend. Mike Hallett, Chairman of the Parish Council, chaired the meeting which was attended by around 80 residents and supported by our elected district councillors.

As was expected, it was a lively meeting. There was a clear demonstration from those attending that if the proposal to establish pitches on the “old market “ site were to go ahead it would have a detrimental effect on the residents not only of Kneesworth but the wider village of Bassingbourn. It was clear that an action group was needed to head up a campaign and that the best people to do this are those living near the site. Nine people came forward to form the nucleus of a group and they are getting together to determine the way forward.

Mike, Jill and John who led the Action Group in the Spring Lane campaign are standing down to allow the new group complete freedom to tackle this latest development. They will continue to give support and advice where called for.

This website will remain in existence and updates will be posted by the new group.

As we sign off we wish to express our thanks to everyone in Bassingbourn-cum Kneesworth for the amazing support and commitment given throughout the campaign. We are, of course delighted, that it resulted in a successful outcome.

WATCH OUT FOR UPDATES POSTED BY THE ACTION GROUP AS THE NEW PROPOSAL IS TACKLED.


Development of Gypsy and Traveller sites in or around Bassingbourn

December 9, 2010

You may be aware that the Officers at South Cambridge District Council have recommended that the proposed Gypsy and Traveller site in Spring Lane Bassingbourn should drop out of consideration at this stage. This means that, if the recommendations are accepted by the New Communities Portfolio Holder at his meeting on 14th December 2010, land at Spring Lane would no longer be considered to be a suitable option.

Whilst this is very good news, it must be tempered by a recommendation, also to be considered at the meeting on 14th December, that new sites put forward in the consultation process in 2009 should be given further consideration. This includes a potential site, the market/car boot land on the A1198 which was suggested in representations, possibly by the land owner.

The current position with this is that the site has been subjected to initial testing by officers who recommend that it is worthy of further exploration to identify whether suitable deliverable options could be delivered. It is stated that this exploration will include discussions with the landowner(s), local Parish Council and other key stakeholders, and if it is found to be a possible new option, will be subject to sustainability appraisal and public consultation at the next stage of the plan making process.

It is unlikely that any action will be taken by the District Council until after the Government Localism Bill is passed into legislation because this will potentially set the direction for local planning decisions and establish additional powers for local communities in planning matters. However, this should not be taken as a signal to do nothing, should residents wish to oppose this site. If this is the case proper preparations must be made to lobby against the adoption of the “market site” on the A 1198 at every step of the process. The Parish Council would have a vital role to play in this from the outset.

With this in mind members of the Bassingbourn Action Group would be interested to know your reactions to this news.

The group will endeavour to give up to date information as it becomes available and co-ordinate meetings and actions.

Please make contact on any of the following:

  • ssusie@live.co.uk
  • johnsld@live.co.uk
  • Write: Bassingbourn Action Group c/o 31 Brook Road, Bassingbourn SG8 5NR

IMPORTANT NEWS

December 8, 2010

FROM BASSINGBOURN cum KNEESWORTH ACTION GROUP

The report to the New Communities Portfolio Holders Meeting scheduled for 14thDecember recommends that the proposed site in Spring Lane, Bassingbourn, is no longer a site option.

In effect this means that the proposal to develop a gypsy and traveller site in Spring Lane is now scrapped.

The process by which South Cambridgeshire District Council is required to provide sites for gypsies and travellers will now be deferred until the Government issues new directives on the role of district councils and communities in this process.

Our thanks go to everyone who has helped with the campaign. This result is due reward for the efforts made by the whole of the village.

We will contact you again as soon as we have further news.


Update October 2010

October 25, 2010

A Promise of Progress – At Last

It is now over 12 months since the public consultation on Issues and Options 2 was closed. South Cambridgeshire District Council has taken all this time to capture, review and consider the representations, objections and comments. We understand there were some 5,000 responses and it undoubtedly takes resources and time to process these, but the lack of real progress and communication to the public has caused anxiety and frustration for residents of Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth.

However, at last we have promises that, if fulfilled, will bring the current phase of the issue to a close. We are told:

  • Processing the responses and considering them is nearing an end
  • A report is due to be published on 6th December 2010
  • Representations submitted during the consultation should also be published on 6th December
  • A decision on which sites will be taken forward to the next phase, and which will not, is due to be made at a meeting of the New Communities Portfolio Holder (Cllr Dr David Bard) scheduled for 14th December. We will attend that meeting.

 

We are at a key point in the whole process and what we do next is very dependant on the decision to be taken on 14th December. We cannot be complacent because we do not know whether the Spring Lane site will be dropped or whether it will go forward to the next phase.

The action group remain confident that the village not only put forward very strong and valid arguments but importantly also expressed its opposition in the strongest possible way through the meetings, coverage in the press and on television and through the massive petition. Since the closure of the consultation we have continued to keep those objections alive through meetings and letters to the Councillors, MPs, Ministers in the Coalition Government and through our district councillors and the parish council.

We are expecting to hold a final meeting with Cllr Dr David Bard in the next ten days.

It would be foolhardy to assume that the Spring Lane site will be dropped and for this reason we will be putting in place plans and actions to be implemented if the proposed site is taken forward to the next phase. Should that happen we want to be ready to get total support from the village to respond quickly and effectively.

We have considered whether we should mount another campaign before the decision is taken but feel that on balance this would be counter productive. We will, of course, do everything possible to ensure that the decision is made on a proper basis and takes proper account of the arguments made by this village.

We are told you will be able to view the material being presented to Cllr Bard, on which he has to base his decision, by going to the South Cambridgeshire District Council website www.scambs.gov.uk on or after 6th December, 2010. Please do this as we would welcome your comments.

We will post another update just as soon as additional information is available.


Update May 2010

May 24, 2010

The consultation process undertaken by South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) concluded in October 2009. We understand that this resulted in some 3000 representations being made and that since that time SCDC has been capturing these onto a data base. The time from October 2009 until now has been a largely dormant period for the action group. We have concentrated on scrutinising the council’s meeting agendas and minutes; attending meetings where the gypsy and traveller issues might be discussed and seeking updates from council officers.

SCDC’s official website offers the following information on progress to date.

“The comments submitted on Issues and Options 2 (this is the formal consultation held between June and October 2009) are now being processed by the Council. Once all the comments have been processed they will be available to view on the Council’s online consultation website and acknowledgement letters and emails will be issued.

Additional sites that were proposed during the Issues and Options 2 consultation are being tested using the same criteria that were used to identify the initial site options. Any new sites meeting the criteria will be included in a further Issues and Options 3 consultation in autumn 2010. All 3 consultations (this includes the one undertaken is 2006) will help us to prepare a final draft plan for consultation in 2011, ahead of independent public examination.”

In response to a separate enquiry made to SCDC we have been informed that the representations should all be processed by June 2010 and that a report is scheduled to be discussed at the portfolio holders meeting on 13th July 2010. We will be keeping a close eye on these projected dates and actions. We will, of course, attend the meeting on 13th July.

Other actions we are taking include:-

  1. During the consultation period last year we were encouraged to learn that the Conservatives intended to abolish the East of England Regional Authority and to legislate to cancel their policies including the policy that required SCDC to establish 88 additional gypsy and traveller pitches in the period 2011 to 2021. In the event we do not have a Conservative Government and pre-election manifesto statements may be changed in the coalition. Nevertheless it is difficult to see the new Government retaining the Regional Assemblies or their successors as saving cost is central to current Government actions. We are writing to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government seeking an assurance that this is the Government’s intention. It has been announced this week that the provision of housing is to be based on local policies and needs rather than regional policies and needs. It seems logical therefore that the provision of gypsy and traveller accommodation should be similarly determined.

    1. We are writing to Andrew Lansley seeking confirmation that he continues to be opposed to the proposals consulted on last year.
    2. We are lobbying both the Conservative and Labour District Councillors representing the village to press SCDC to affirm their opposition to the policy that gypsy and traveller sites should the established in accordance with the directive of regional government. We want the councillors to confirm they would welcome any change of policy that relieves the Council of providing sites in accordance with regional policies.
    3. Since there have been changes to the responsibilities of certain SCDC Officers we are seeking information about which officers and which councillors are now responsible for the gypsy and traveller proposals.
    4. Depending on the replies we receive to the above enquiries we are preparing plans to take whatever further actions are necessary. We will be ready to reinvigorate the “campaign” of last year should there be indications that the Spring Lane or other sites in Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth are favoured or appear to be favoured by SCDC

    Please do not hesitate to contact either John Penny  johnsld@live.co.uk or Mike and Jill Reeve ssusie@live.co.uk if  you have any observations, questions or want to suggest  other actions you think we should now be considering.


    Photos from Petition Presentation

    October 9, 2009

    The village’s petition was presented to SCDC on Thursday, 8th Oct 2009.

    Petition Presentation

    A full slideshow of photos taken on the day is here

    There is also a video on YouTube: