No time limit on travellers' caravans at Chiswell Green site
There was cause for celebration among members of the traveller community this week as district councillors agreed to allow caravans to remain on a St Albans Green Belt site indefinitely.
Planning permission from 2011 had allowed the temporary stationing of three caravans and the stabling of horses on the Ardens Rise site in Jersey Farm.
However, that approval - granted at a planning appeal - came with the caveat of a five-year time limit, meaning that in February, all caravans or mobile homes brought onto the site would have had to be removed.
But Michael Connors, who lives on the site with his family, had applied to the district council for removal of that condition.
At a planning referrals meeting on Monday (24) Brian Stubbs, chairman of the Jersey Farm Residents Association, urged the council to reject the application.
He said: “We believe that the positioning of up to six caravans - three being tourers - is an inappropriate use of Green Belt land.
“The granting of the five-year temporary permission was granted on the basis that the caravans would be removed at the end of the five year period.”
According to Mr Stubbs, removing the time limit would mean that councillors were ignoring the wishes of local residents as well as those of Sandridge parish council.
He added: “I do not believe that travellers should be treated any better or worse than the rest of us. I would not be allowed to extend my house and use a static caravan in my garden to house my family without planning permission.
“Just because they are traveller stock, and wish to live together, should not be a persuasive argument.”
However, Cllr Tom Clegg said: “In my observation, this is a well run and tidy site. It’s well looked-after. The government’s aim is to ensure equal rights for travellers and I will be supporting the officer’s recommendation.”
Councillors voted six to one for the removal of the time-limit with one abstention, allowing the Connors family to remain on Ardens rise in perpetuity.