Skip to main content


Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the estimated gipsy population of Bedfordshire and surrounding counties, respectively;(2) how many facilities for accommodating gipsies have been built in Bedfordshire; and how many are under construction or planned, giving locations, cost and capacity of each site;(3) how many facilities for accommodating gipsies have been built within the counties of East Anglia close to towns as opposed to villages in rural areas;(4) if he will give the number of facilities for accommodating gipsies completed for every county in East Anglia.

The Department estimates that there are about 150 gipsy families in Bedfordshire; in the surrounding counties there are about 200 gipsy families in Buckinghamshire, 330 in Hertfordshire, 200 in Cambridgeshire and 90 in Northamptonshire.Bedfordshire County Council has provided five official sites for gipsies:

South Bedfordshire District (Pepperstock, Caddington), 12 pitches.
South Bedfordshire District (Chiltern View. Eaton Bray), 20 pitches.
Luton Borough (Stepsley), 20 pitches.
Bedford District (Kempston Hardwick, Stewartby), 22 pitches.
Mid-Bedfordshire District (Potton), 22 pitches.

The county council has told the Department that it intends to provide the following additional facilities:

Bedford District (Cut Throat Lane, Bedford), 22 pitches.
South Bedfordshire District (Pepperstock), a further 3 pitches.
South Bedfordshire District (Chiltern View), a further 7 pitches.
Mid-Bedfordshire District (Shefford) (Transit Site), 25–29 pitches.

The Department has no information about the cost of these sites.

In East Anglia, Cambridgeshire County Council has provided three sites with a total of 87 pitches and Norfolk County Council has provided one site with 15 pitches. Suffolk County Council has not yet provided any sites, although I understand that one is in the course of preparation. The four sites in East Anglia are all located within, or adjacent to, towns.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in establishing the requirement of the gipsy community in an area and the need to make provision for their accommodation, whether the capital resources of gipsies and the county from which they have migrated are taken into account.

Under the Caravan Sites Act 1968, the duty of determining what sites are to be provided for gipsies residing in or resorting to their area rests with county councils. They are not required to take account in this connection of the factors to which the hon. Member refers nor, as far as I am aware, do they do so.