Gipsy caravans to be allowed on Green Belt site

PUBLISHED: 11:25 11 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

GIPSY caravans are to be allowed on a Green Belt site following a seven-year battle which has cost some £60,000. A Government inspector has agreed that the caravans - for seven adults and six children - can be put on the site known as Nuckies Farm in Cour

GIPSY caravans are to be allowed on a Green Belt site following a seven-year battle which has cost some £60,000.

A Government inspector has agreed that the caravans - for seven adults and six children - can be put on the site known as Nuckies Farm in Coursers Road, Colney Heath.

The inspector gave the go-ahead for the development despite acknowledging that the caravans would harm the Green Belt and the character of the area. He also agreed that the caravans would be on land in a high-risk flooding area where planning guidelines state that such development should not be permitted

The development will be allowed for five years with a number of conditions imposed on the site.

The decision follows an appeal by Mr Peter Robb against St Albans District Council's refusal of planning permission for the caravans to be sited on the land.

The long-running battle over Nuckies Farm goes back some seven years and has cost St Albans District Council and Colney Heath Parish Council £60,000 in costs as the district issued numerous enforcement notices against Mr Robb to move him and his family from the land and to prevent unauthorised development there. Previous appeals against enforcement notices were dismissed.

The case went to the High Court in 2003 when an injunction was issue to force the occupants to leave. When the caravans moved off the site, they parked on the Common nearby and the parish council then had to take action to have them removed.

The inspector justified his decision by the lack of official gipsy sites in the district - though St Albans provides the highest number of gipsy sites in the county - and the poor health of members of the Robb family as well as education for the children.

Cllr Chris Brazier, the district council's Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation and who represents Colney Heath, described the inspector's decision as perverse and said they would be seeking a judicial review of his decision.

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