Could LA5 developer pull the plug?

Proposed Traveller Site, Icknield Way, Tring.
Proposed Traveller Site, Icknield Way, Tring.

Builders have vowed to continue with plans for 200 new homes in Tring, despite their previous concerns that a travellers’ site would ‘threaten’ the development.

In documents unearthed by the Gazette, Cala Homes – which owns part of the 18.3 hectare site between Icknield Way and Aylesbury Road – said it had ‘a number of specific objections’ about the LA5 proposal to include a five-pitch gyspy site next door to the development.

In the documents, which were submitted to Dacorum Borough Council in November 2014, Cala said: “The inclusion of a travellers’ site on Icknield Way would inhibit the delivery of new homes at site LA5.

“The policy threatens the viability of the delivery of local allocation and is therefore not effective.

“There is a very significant risk that a traveller site would undermine the viability of the development, given the costs associated with the provision of pitches.”

National government guidelines say that placing a travellers’ site on Green Belt land is deemed ‘inappropriate development’.

But in a full council meeting last month, 38 councillors voted to move the Green Belt boundary to accommodate the travellers’ site, with seven votes against and seven abstensions.

Concerned Tring town councillors are due to hold a closed meeting next week to discuss an appeal in which they hope to involve South West Herts MP David Gauke.

The government planning inspectorate is due to look over Dacorum Borough Council’s core strategy this summer, and Cala says it will continue putting together an outline planning application until then – but there was no hint that they would pull out at this stage.

Andrew Aldridge – land and planning director at Cala – said: “We understand a public examination will take place this summer to discuss the LA5 allocation, following which an inspectors’ report will be published.

“We are looking to deliver a high-quality development in Tring, on a site which has already been endorsed for residential and commercial development in the adopted core strategy.

“We will consider the recommendations made in the inspectors’ report once published, but will continue preparatory work on our planning application until that time.”