Plans for seasonal touring site for travellers in Redbourn are rejected

The existing gipsy and traveller site at Tullochside, Redbourn - photo Google

The existing gipsy and traveller site at Tullochside, Redbourn - photo Google - Credit: Archant

A bid to create a seasonal touring caravan site for travellers on a Green Belt site has been rejected by a planning inspector.

The application was made on behalf of Tullochside in Redbourn where there is already a gipsy and traveller site with planning permission for up to 20 caravans.

But planning inspector Louise Phillips ruled that additional seasonal pitches were a step too far and no special circumstances existed to justify the proposed development.

Tullochside has long been a thorn in the side of St Albans council which has rejected a number of planning applications relating to the site on Hemel Hempstead Road.

It turned down the application for change of use of the land to use as a seasonal caravan site from April 1 until October 31 for up to 13 gipsy families or 26 touring caravans in November 2015.

The main objections were that it would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt and could compromise its openness.

The appeal on behalf of Tullochside was made by Cougar Construction which pointed out that St Albans and Hemel Hempstead were attrctive places for gipsies and travellers seeking employment during the summer months.

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Each year people called at the door and if they were taken in at Tullochside, the council took enforcement action.

With only one transit site in Herts based at South Mimms and often full, the applicants maintain that the proposal would enable travellers, including whole families, to travel and stop in St Albans without recourse to unauthorised camping or overcrowded authorised sites.

The visitors would probably be friends or relatives of the existing owner and occupiers.

Ms Phillips accepted that the site would be closed for five months of the year and could be expected to return to an open state relatively easily. But she concluded overall that it would be harmful to the openness of the Green Belt and the character and appearance of the area.

She referred to an assessment of accommodation needs for gipsy, travellers and travelling show people which had not identified a need for transit sites in St Albans and ruled that there was a lack of evidence that the proposed development would alleviate existing inadequacies in provision.