PUBLISHED: 10:57 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010
SIR – – I am surprised that your journalist chose a mundane, one-sided, report in her article Gipsy Family Loses New Appeal Over Stables Site (Herts Advertiser, October 15) as I have never seen reference to Pakistani, Indian, Polish, Latvian, Transylvani
SIR - - I am surprised that your journalist chose a mundane, one-sided, report in her article Gipsy Family Loses New Appeal Over Stables Site (Herts Advertiser, October 15) as I have never seen reference to Pakistani, Indian, Polish, Latvian, Transylvanian, West Indian, white English family or any other ethnic group freely available in our nearby localities in such a manner. I wonder why?
An investigative reporter could have pursued a good story along these lines: Does the council's planning committee have a hidden agenda - let's look at relevant applications which have been passed in recent months and years in nearby localities and which are pertinent to our "Gipsy Family" which has been denied what these other developments were allowed.
Mr and Mrs Smith, we are informed, would be contravening regulations regarding a) Green Belt; b) flood plains; c) views of natural beauty; d) effect on the River Lea etc.
1.Wheathampstead site for Tesco supermarket stopped. The same area behind The Bull pub, four or five new houses (on raised foundations to avoid flood waters) built on the Lea Riverbank. Prices from £740,000.
2. Further along the bank, opposite the recreation ground, over two dozen new houses.
3. Head towards Luton on the Wheathampstead/Lower Luton Road until Leasey Dell Close. This used to be a builders merchants/garden centre whose name escapes me - now a very exclusive development of four top-range houses (£1-£2 million at a guess) and all within 100 yards of the Lea plus one on the banks.
4. Turn next right into Marshalls Heath Lane, one mile to the top (The Slype) and we have Bidwell's advertising Wadlands, a stable property with planning permission for all but two out of 14 existing stables to be converted into a four-bed luxury L-shaped bungalow - priced at £900,000 plus cost of conversions.
5. Back on the Lower Luton Road behind Riverbanks Stables on the opposite side of the riverbank to one of the Smith's fields is a five-acre field bordered by Marquis Lane which is being offered for sale for an astonishing £500,000 - why so expensive? The agents informed me that it had outline planning for development.
6. Back on the Lower Luton Road, Batford, Riverbank Close - six terraced houses on (yes!) the bank of the River Lea.
7. Continue about one mile to just before East Hyde is Hyde Farm. Here barns have been converted into accommodation - no, not for essential farm workers but as bed and breakfast rented accommodation including a new drive entrance and a real eyesore of a bridge over what must be the most picturesque and best fishing stretch of the River Lea.
Yes, if I had been reporting this rejection of planning permission, I'd most certainly not have left this "something rotten in the state of etc etc" go unexplored.
But then I don't agree with the planners that gipsies should not have property elsewhere and then have accommodation adjacent to their work like, say - MPs - even though the difference is that the Smith's have bought and invested with their own money while MPs use taxpayers to finance theirs.
Something is very odd and unjust about this whole situation which will hopefully be something which the Secretary of State will soon become involved in and, if necessary, the European Court of Human Rights.
Pickford Hill, Harpenden