St Albans ignored in bid to reduce number of gipsy pitches
A DEAF ear has once again been turned to a bid to reduce a proposed increase in the number of gipsy pitches in the St Albans district. An appeal to a gipsies and travellers review panel late last year for a further reduction in the number of pitches propo
A DEAF ear has once again been turned to a bid to reduce a proposed increase in the number of gipsy pitches in the St Albans district.
An appeal to a gipsies and travellers review panel late last year for a further reduction in the number of pitches proposed for the district has proved unsuccessful.
Following an Examination in Public into the East of England's Review of Gipsy and Traveller Accommodation earlier last year, the proposed number was cut from 33 pitches to 28.
The five pitches that were reduced in St Albans were given to neighbouring Dacorum Council instead.
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St Albans District Council's planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, appealed for the number to be cut even further at the panel meeting in Leamington Spa but has now learned that the figure of 28 has been forwarded to Secretary of State Hazel Blears for her consideration.
The outcome of her delibertions will then go out to public consultation, probably later this year.
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Cllr Brazier said: "We had been hoping they would look at it across the board and recommend a more equitable share across the county.
"But their response has always been that gipsy and travellers want to live here and other districts such as Watford and Dacorum are more built on while St Albans has plenty of green space.
"I can't see that at all because if you take that argument, North Herts is very green and is being asked to take far fewer additional pitches than St Albans."
Cllr Brazier said that his arguments were treated as NIMBYism when he made them at East of England meetings.
The situation could change next month when the district council goes to the High Court to challenge the East of England's Regional Spatial Strategy which could mean the district is affected by proposed housebuilding targets in Welwyn-Hatfield and Dacorum. The gipsy pitch issue is also being challenged.