Householder ‘devastated’ by travellers scheme on Bricket Wood Green Belt site

Lye Lane in Bricket Wood

Lye Lane in Bricket Wood - Credit: Archant

A householder has been left “devastated” after approval was recently given for the expansion of one of three travellers’ sites despite local opposition and being sited in the Green Belt.

The woman, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution, has criticised St Albans district council for having “no regard” for the concerns of residents.

She has written an eight-page letter complaining to the authority after it gave Ned Connors the go-ahead for a change of use at Lye Lane in Bricket Wood.

His was the only expansion bid to gain approval at a recent planning referrals committee meeting – John Connors’ scheme to extend near Butterfly World in Chiswell Green and Michael Connors’ attempt to increase the number of pitches in Jersey Farm were considered inappropriate in the Green Belt.

The woman told the Herts Advertiser: “We are devastated that the site has been given approval to expand from one mobile home for two people to eight families and dependants, with parking for 16 cars.

“The land was a green field with mature oak trees but over the years asphalt has replaced the fields.”

In her letter, which has also been sent to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and St Albans MP Anne Main, she pointed out that not only was there a lack of prior notice to affected residents about the pending meeting, there was no webcast of it to enable people to see what happened, and minutes were not publicised until some time afterwards.

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She strongly believes that “preferential treatment is given to the traveller community…no other person can buy Metropolitan Green Belt land and live on it without planning permission.”

Describing the travellers in Lye Lane as “very wealthy”, the woman added, “This family own many properties and land; they own several companies. They do not need the help of council in giving them planning for the Green Belt.”

She has called upon the council to make the planning system fair for all, and suggested that residents might need to take a “more aggressive approach” in future when responding to such schemes.

Deputy chairman of the committee, Cllr Maxine Crawley, said councillors had voted for the bid on the recommendation of planning officers who had examined the application against council policies and government guidelines.

She added: “Planning is a very emotive issue, and not just when we are considering applications from travellers and gipsies”.