Gipsies given two months to clear village site

TRAVELLERS who have been living on a village site for the past couple of years have been given just over two months to get off. It follows a High Court hearing last week brought by St Albans council against Bob and Carol Smith who are living at Riverbanks

TRAVELLERS who have been living on a village site for the past couple of years have been given just over two months to get off.

It follows a High Court hearing last week brought by St Albans council against Bob and Carol Smith who are living at Riverbanks Stables in Wheathampstead.

In the past the council has refused two applications to change the use of the site from Green Belt to residential, both of which were taken to appeal and dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate who agreed that significant harm would be caused to the Green Belt by living on the land.

St Albans plans north committee decided late last year on the advice of the council's legal team to seek a legal injunction to clear the illegal site.


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Mr and Mrs Smith, who own two houses in Luton, have until Friday, May 7, to stop using any buildings or caravans on the site for residential purposes and remove all caravans from the land. They were ordered to pay the council's costs which were assessed at �7,310.

Mr and Mrs Smith were at the High Court for the hearing at which the council was represented by counsel.

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St Albans council's planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, described the outcome as, "a good victory in the High Court".

He went on: "I think we had a very good case. We are getting a lot more people saying we don't have enough gipsy pitches in St Albans and using that as their defence but the inspectors are seeing that we have got an over-provision."

Cllr Brazier added that the council had a good record in the High Court but was very judicious about which cases to take there because it was using council taxpayers' money.

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