New clash over travellers' site
PUBLISHED: 11:38 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 11:17 08 March 2011
A FAMILY of travellers have dug in their heels in a row over how much longer they can remain on a village site. Peter Robb, who has cost both St Albans District Council and Colney Heath Parish Council tens of thousands of pounds in costs over the years,
A FAMILY of travellers have dug in their heels in a row over how much longer they can remain on a village site.
Peter Robb, who has cost both St Albans District Council and Colney Heath Parish Council tens of thousands of pounds in costs over the years, has now built a wall across the entrance to the site he occupies at Nuckies Farm and has moved on three mobile homes.
It follows a landmark victory when the Secretary of State decided in September to quash a planning inspector's decision to allow Mr Robb and his family to stay on Nuckies Farm. And it means that yet again the parish council faces going to court in a bid to evict everyone from the site.
Mr Robb and his family moved on to Nuckies Farm in 2000 and made a number of attempts to get permission from the district council to live on the land which were turned down and enforcement notices served to get him off..
He received a 28-day jail sentence for defying a High Court injunction ordering the family off the site and when they finally did leave, they only moved as far as Colney Heath Common.
The parish council consistently objected to the family living there because the site was in the Green Belt and on a flood plain. So they were horrified last year when planning inspector Clive Hughes ruled that the Robb family could move back on to the land for a maximum of five year.
He felt the health needs of the family and the absence of any pitches in the area on which they could live outweighed any damage to the Green Belt and planning guidelines about caravans being situated on land where there was a flood risk.
The parish council decided to seek a Judicial Review into the decision but before it came to the High Court, the Secretary of State conceded that his inspector was wrong and quashed the appeal decision.
District and parish councillor Chris Brazier said this week that the parish council would be going to the High Court in January for the formal quashing of the planning decision.
At the same time, subject to legal advice from their solicitors, they would probably ask for everyone to be evicted from the site. Alternatively they would take separate action over the three mobile homes which had appeared on Nuckies Farm.
Cllr Brazier added: "Mr Robb is cocking a snook at the law but we will pursue him again.