Traveller site is not a done deal

PUBLISHED: 10:18 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:34 26 October 2009

Sir - Your article regarding a proposed travellers site on Green Belt land in Bulls Lane, Welham Green, was very misleading. The meeting in North Mymms Community Centre was packed with very concerned local residents, (more would have attended had it been

Sir - Your article regarding a proposed travellers site on Green Belt land in Bulls Lane, Welham Green, was very misleading.

The meeting in North Mymms Community Centre was packed with very concerned local residents, (more would have attended had it been held at 7.30pm).

At this meeting they were reassured by MP Grant Shapps, Mr Stephen Boulton and Welwyn Hatfield's chief planning officer, Mr Conway, that this "proposed site" was unsuitable and the final decision of a choice of site rested with the council.

So where does your statement that... "it now only needs Government approval to get the go ahead" fit into this reassurance by the aforementioned three gentlemen?

Have they in fact no say in the matter?

Have either the East of England Regional Assembly or the Independent Panel, actually visited Welwyn Hatfield? Have they actually sourced all areas for possible sites? And what makes a Green Belt field, backing onto woodland near a golf course in a very narrow rutted country lane adjacent to a village community, the only final site they have come up with?

A travellers site would be totally unsuitable in this location and would have a terrible impact on the local community and the already congested access roads.

Several proposed housing developments on green field sites have been turned down in recent years, as being unsuitable.

Welwyn Hatfield presently has three permanent travellers sites, one in Welwyn and two situated along the A414 east of Hatfield.

Surely a more logical and suitable solution would be if these three sites could be extended to accommodate six extra pitches each.

This would spread the need and could solve Welwyn Hatfield's responsibility to provide extra pitches at sites with all the necessary infrastructure in place.

This would be a common sense solution without destroying Green Belt fields.

As for 'It's thumbs up'; certainly not.

Mrs D Cooper,

Holloways Lane, North Mymms.

Editor's comment: The line in our story, "It now only needs Government approval to get the go-ahead" refers to the decision by the East of England Regional Assembly to set up 176 pitches in Herts (more than originally discussed in previous meetings).

It is up to each local authority - not EERA - to decide on where to put these extra pitches.

The site in Bulls Lane South, Bell Bar, was suggested by an independent consultant (commissioned by a joint group of six councils in Herts, including Welwyn Hatfield and Herts county).

It is only a proposal, though. Indeed, our story on January 30 quoted borough councillor Stephen Boulton stressing this site was not a "done deal".

Any firm proposal - for this site or any other - will go through the usual council processes before being agreed or rejected.

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