SIR, — It has been suggested in some quarters that I have a vendetta against traveller Mr Peter Robb and his family. Well I want to make it quite clear that I have no vendettas against anybody. What I have is a clear understanding of the law and building
SIR, - It has been suggested in some quarters that I have a vendetta against traveller Mr Peter Robb and his family. Well I want to make it quite clear that I have no vendettas against anybody. What I have is a clear understanding of the law and building on the flood plain is against planning law.
I have been elected to represent Colney Heath and the residents have asked me to support them in their fight against people building on the flood plain. Every year since Mr Robb raised the level of the flood plain by importing tons of hard core, the Colne has flooded further downstream forcing residents living alongside the river to evacuate their houses. By raising the flood plain Mr Robb has selfishly deprived local residents of their rights to protection against flooding.
So I have no vendetta against Mr Robb. I do not care if it is Mr Smith, Mr Brown or Mrs Smith - to build on the flood plain is wrong and must be resisted. It is against the human rights of others to raise or alter the natural flood plain. I want equal rights not human rights for a few. I will continue to use the law until this matter is brought to a successful conclusion for the residents of Colney Heath.
My stance against the increase of gipsy pitches in the St Albans district is also well known and is not aimed solely at Mr Robb. I have lived in this area all my life. My stance on travellers sites is not designed to win votes, it is to highlight a genuine concern that I have always had, that rural areas like St Albans district are a good place for governments to locate traveller sites. St Albans district has 40 per cent of the official pitches in the south west of the county, across the county we have 25 per cent and this cannot be fair. In Colney Heath we have two sites and Mr Robb's unofficial site. In Redbourn we have sites, legal and unofficial.
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Locating the sites in rural areas is completely wrong. Sites should be located near schools, shops, social services, public transport and health facilities, not in the countryside. It is right that councils provide pitches/sites, but that provision must be based on equitable distribution, sustainability and need. We have met the requirements and have in my opinion over-provided, so we should not be asked to provide more when there are areas with no provision.
The East of England Regional Authority (EERA) report not only says that we need to take a extra 28 (reduced from 34) pitches to meet travellers needs, it also states that we should allow three per cent growth year on year and this is what I'm challenging on May 18.
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As a council, St Albans District has made provision for gipsy and traveller sites. We have met our requirements. I want an equitable distribution across the county and I will be defending our position. I would also point out that it was this council that published the Scott Wilson Report when others wanted it kept secret. We highlighted the issue of pitches and got the subject into the public domain.
CLLR CHRIS BRAZIER,
St Albans District Council's Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation.