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Proposal for Bovingdon gipsy site, adjacent to the Bobsleigh Hotel, 'completely unacceptable'
An entire hall of Bovingdon residents united over their concerns about a proposed gipsy caravan site on Monday night.
Villagers could be seen queuing outside the Memorial Hall in Bovingdon, ahead of a parish council planning meeting that was set to discuss the contentious application.
An application was submitted to Dacorum Borough Council in July for change of use of the Green Belt site, adjacent to the Bobsleigh Hotel, to be used as a residential caravan site for eight gipsy families, each with up to two caravans.
The panel of parish councillors and many members of the public in attendance expressed their concerns about the application.
Glenn Povey, chairman of Bovingdon parish council, said: "It’s completely unacceptable. There’s no reason why it should go through."
Residents will have the opportunity to write letters of objection to Dacorum Borough Council ahead of their decision and Bovingdon Action Group, who were among those to turn up, has set up a website in an attempt to "save Bovingdon Green Belt" and advise villagers on how best to go about this.
Councillor Tony Trigg added: "A gipsy caravan site should be put into major new developments rather than be shoehorned into existing plans."
Michael Robson, a planning consultant, was invited to attend the meeting by the parish council in order to help draw up their objection and offer guidance. He said that gipsy families have the right to somewhere to live, which means the negative impact the proposal would have on the Green Belt and the community needs to outweigh this need for housing.
Alison Gunn, from the Bovingdon Action Group, said after the meeting: "There were a lot of people there tonight so that is very positive. We were hoping for that kind of turn out but didn’t know what to expect, so we’re very pleased. We’ve also had a lot of positive feedback about the action group and everyone seems very on board. We are very much a community and very tight knit and we all get on no matter what. We don’t want that to change."
Bovingdon Action Group said on their website: "We recognise that gipsies need residential pitches but the Green Belt is not an acceptable option or a solution."
The meeting concluded with residents asking for advice on how best to protest against the application.
One resident suggested blocking the entrance to the site as a form of protest and Richard Briden, vice chairman of Bovingdon parish council, said that although "as a parish council we can’t do that, anyone who wants to cause an action could".
Residents are being asked to submit their letters of objection to Dacorum Borough Council by September 20.
To find out more about Bovingdon Action Group, go to www.savebovingdongreenbelt.org
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