Travellers block Colney Heath road with mobile home for hours
PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:08 13 October 2016
Danny Loo Photography 2016
Travellers have controversially transported a large mobile home to a Green Belt site - blocking a road for six hours - ahead of a council decision on whether it can be stationed there.
St Albans district councillor for Colney Heath, Chris Brazier, said that last Tuesday (4), a mobile home was brought down Coursers Road, “without the prior knowledge” of either the local authority or Herts Police.
The portable home was taken to Nuckies Farm in Colney Heath, even though its temporary planning permission for a caravan site expired last year.
Despite being located in a flood zone, Nuckies Farm, which is behind a gated entrance off Coursers Road, in the Green Belt, is currently the subject of a proposal for the use of land as a residential gipsy caravan site, including the stationing of three caravans for residential use, of which no more than two are static caravans or mobile homes.
The applicant, Peter Robb, lodged the scheme at the end of September and public consultation does not end until October 26.
But, ahead of either the consultation’s completion, or a council decision, the home was transferred to the Green Belt site.
The move has annoyed Cllr Brazier, as well as residents who complained about being trapped by the oversized home on Coursers Road.
He said: “It blocked the complete road and people couldn’t get past for six hours, because they couldn’t get the home onto the site. It was too large, so it had to be jacked onto one of their other trailers.
“I went down there, because of residents’ complaints and had a word with the police. There were two constables who wanted to get it off Coursers Road because it was blocking the whole road. There were queues of traffic.”
He added: “There is a planning application to put a mobile home on to the site, but they have done that now, before it has been decided, to pre-empt it. This has been done before at Nuckies Farm. They move a home on to the site, before a scheme is decided, and then enforcement officers can’t do anything about it till the application is decided.
“Then, if the council decides to refuse it, they will go to appeal, and you can’t do anything till it goes through the appeal process. It’s a vicious circle.”
A council decision is pending on the planning application, which states the provision of “accommodation for gypsies and travellers would go some way towards satisfying the identified shortage of traveller sites in St Albans and contribute towards creating a more inclusive and mixed community”.
Peter Robb declined to comment.