‘No plans for travellers site in Hertfordshire village’ say developers

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Developers have denied claims from residents who raised concerns they plan to build a traveller site on land near to their homes.

Work started back in March to develop the site north of Pipers Hill in Great Gaddesden, with a fence erected and hardstanding being installed. The landowners are now applying for retrospective planning permission.

Residents have lodged their objections, with claims “poisonous chemicals and asbestos” contaminated the land in the early 1980s. They have also raised concerns over future use of the site.

A spokesman for the land owners denied it was contaminated, and said the intention was to turn the site for equestrian use.

One comment on the application said it was believed locally the ultimate plans was for a traveller site.

They wrote: “Will Dacorum be taking responsibility for cleaning up the contamination by poisonous chemicals and asbestos that took place during the extensive landfill operation during the early 1980s?

“Plenty of evidence has been gathered by local researchers into the materials dumped here during the period, so it will be quite difficult to cover it up.”

The planning application explicitly states that the land is not known to be contaminated.

Another resident wrote: “They have fenced off access to statutory utilities, by going over access chambers and even exposing power cable joints etc during the works and leaving it in a dangerous situation. The power joint bays that were dug up are still exposed.

“They have flouted planning laws on numerous occasions and have a complete disregard in this respect, and a disregard for the community they are working in.

“They have previously contaminated the land and have not been held to account to rectify.

“For years they dumped waste including asbestos and oil and haven’t had to decontaminate since, so how is this suitable for grazing? The rubbish they mention in the application was caused by their works, not people littering.”

A spokesman for AD Practice Ltd, which is acting as agents for the applicants, said: “The work in the 1980s on the land was done with permission from the waste authority Herts County Council under their licence, and does not contain any contaminants – if there had been, then the county council would have picked it up at the time.”

The agents also denied that there were any plans to have travellers on the site, saying: “The owners have no connection with travellers, there’s no desire to have travellers on there, and the site isn’t owned by travellers.

“One of the owners lives fairly close, and if travellers made an incursion on to the site then I’m sure they would be removed,” the spokesman added.

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