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Three Rivers District Council loses battle with traveller family over Green Belt land in Langleybury
Three Rivers taxpayers must pick up a substantial legal bill after a traveller family successfully overturned efforts to prevent them settling on Green Belt land in Langleybury.
Planning inspector Nicholas Freeman this week said removing Jimmy Cash and his family from the site on Old House Lane would breach their human rights.
He ordered that planning permission be granted for at least three years and quashed the council’s enforcement notice.
Three Rivers District Council must also pay all the appellant’s legal costs as well as their own.
A spokesman said the total cost to taxpayers was not yet known as council was waiting to receive details from Mr Cash.
Councillor Martin Trevett, cabinet member for environment, said: "The council is disappointed with the inspector's decision particularly in the way he has disregarded some of Three Rivers’ existing gypsy and traveller pitches (both temporary and permanent) in counting towards the existing regional target."
"In light of the appeal decision, the exact number of pitches in the district is not clear.
"An up to date assessment of the exact number of existing pitches will be carried out as part of a gypsy and traveller DPD (Development Plan Document) and the council is working with adjoining authorities on this cross boundary issue."
Concerned residents who opposed the development collected 500 signatures on a petition urging the council to refuse permission last year.
It attracted complaints from Chandlers Cross, Bucks Hill, Commonwood and Penmans Green Residents' Association and The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.
Janice Dawes of Sarratt Parish Council, said: "The council is very disappointed with the ruling.
"We are disappointed because it is within the green belt and development has been allowed to go ahead regardless."
The site, about half a hectare in size, consists of two "double unit" mobile homes, two touring caravans and a utility outbuilding situated between the two pitches.
It is situated in green belt land by Langleybury Lane. The majority of the area is enclosed by two meter high boarded fencing.
Mr Freeman noted the site was an inappropriate development for the green belt and is therefore, by definition, harmful.
However, he cast doubt on the council’s claim that there are 20 permanent spaces available at local sites and identified Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which enshrines an individual’s right to a private and family life.
Mr Freeman noted: "Upholding the enforcement notice would represent an infringement of these rights."