Permission refused for additional caravan pitches in St Albans district
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Councillors in St Albans have refused to give retrospective planning permission for additional caravans at a site in Sandridge.
The land behind Ardens Rise, on House Lane, already has a number of static caravan pitches for gypsies and travellers, which already has planning permission.
On Monday, a meeting of St Albans City and District Council's planning referrals committee considered a retrospective application for five more caravans or mobile homes - on an adjoining piece of land - as well as areas of hard standing, grass and hedging.
Councillors took the decision to refuse the changes to the site, which sits within the Green Belt.
They agreed with the officer's recommendation that it was 'inappropriate development' in the Green Belt, and agreed the necessary 'very special circumstances' did not exist to justify the potential harm to the Green Belt.
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Cllr Frances Leonard - who called in the application for consideration - said: 'From my point of view there is no discussion.
'I agree with what the officers have said. It's a Green Belt site.
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'It's harmful to the Green Belt - as far as I am concerned the officers have it right and the application should be removed. '
Cllr Sandra Wood added that while she understood 'where the applicant was coming from', she didn't think it would be acceptable to approve it in a Green Belt area.
It was reported to councillors that Sandridge Parish Council had objected to the application, as well as respresentatives from the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Ten individual residents and Jersey Farm Residents' Association had also responded to the public consultation.
Issues highlighted included the 'creeping conversion of the Green Belt' to a gypsy caravan site, flood concerns, shortage of school places locally and the impact on traffic.
They also suggested that the development would set a precedent and that the proposals were unsightly.
Despite recommending refusal, the officer's report to the committee did recognise a lack of traveller sites in the district and acknowledged that the council 'cannot currently demonstrate a sufficient supply of pitches'.