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New gipsy site considered for green belt land off Tolpits Lane
An area of picturesque green belt land off Tolpits Lane has been earmarked for a new gipsy and traveller site.
The plan for the 3.5 hectare site adjacent to homes and business premises is identified in Three Rivers District Council consultation documents.
The document, which is open for consultation until March 22, proposes the site despite identifying a need for just eight additional spaces as temporary planning permissions expire over the next ten years.
The proposal has already passed through a district council working party and the executive committee without attracting objections from politicians in any party.
Council leader Councillor Ann Shaw said: "In December it was agreed that one site that could accommodate more than eight pitches in the long run, was preferable to seeking several sites, and that the Tolpits Lane site be taken forward for public consultation.
"This was agreed without dissent at both the working party and the executive."
There are currently no publically owned and run sites for gipsies and travellers in Three Rivers although there are two sites for travelling showmen in Mill End which comprise roughly 20 pitches.
The study shows there have only been three incidents of unauthorised encampments in the district since 2008 and concludes: "There is no identified need for a transit site in Three Rivers."
The site is close to an existing traveller site which is owned by Watford Borough Council, and although the proposals for this site are within Three Rivers, the closest town is Watford.
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said the borough council recently produced their own evaluation in the area but found no need for additional pitches.
She said: "Gipsy sites are always controversial but the current one in Tolpits Lane has never been a problem to anyone, it is well run and has excellent residents.
"Three Rivers will be looking for the area that has the least impact on communities.
"I am not sure there is a proven need for a site there so I am surprised they are going ahead with it.
"We will have a view on this as it’s so close to our border."
The Gipsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Local Development Document is designed to replace the area’s local plan that expired in 2011.