Travellers appeal to retain Colney Heath farm as permanent caravan site
PUBLISHED: 09:05 13 April 2019
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An appeal has been lodged to allow travellers to permanently set up home on a Green Belt site in St Albans.
A group of travellers has repeatedly appealed over the past decade to retain Nuckies Farm in Coursers Road, Colney Heath as a fixed site for traveller communities.
The site consists of six caravans, of which no more than three are static caravans or mobile homes, with associated hardstanding (ground paved for the purpose of parking vehicles).
St Albans council has rejected the proposal on the grounds that the site is located within the metropolitan Green Belt and within a flood zone, meaning there is a medium probability of flooding from rivers.
Peter Robb lodged the appeal against the decision, arguing that the need for sites outweighed the desire to protect Green Belt land.
He said: “[Harm to the Green Belt] is clearly outweighed by the lack of harm to the character or appearance of the area, the general un-met need for sites, the appellant’s personal need for a lawful site in this area, and the benefits to the appellant’s family of being able to live together as an extended family group.”
He also emphasised the lack of alternative options for the traveller family living on the site, and the needs of their children. He said: “Very special circumstances exist to justify the grant of planning permission.”
However the council argued: “Very special circumstances do not exist to justify the grant of permanent planning permission at the site because the potential harm to the Green Belt is not clearly outweighed by other considerations.”
Colney Heath Cllr Chris Brazier said: “I have written to the appeals inspector with my objections. When it was originally given permission, about six years ago, it was temporary for four years. They should have implemented that.
“We haven’t got the infrastructure to support another site. We already have two sites, the Paddocks and the Barley Mow site, so to expect us to support another one within the parish would be totally unreasonable.
“We’d be bearing 40 per cent of the traveller provision for St Albans district council.”
The hearing will be held to decide on the appeal on Wednesday, May 29.
Members of the public can comment via the council’s online planning portal by no later than Friday, May 3.