Villagers in a picturesque English village have reacted with fury after travellers were given planning permission for a huge site on its outskirts – despite a High Court order to leave.
A planning inspector ruled that the greenfield site in Little Hadham, Hertfordshire, which the travellers have already built on, must stay.
The football pitch-sized plot lies on the outskirts of the upmarket village, where 53 homes are worth more than £1m each.
The travellers paid £3,000 for their plot, which already houses caravans, heavy equipment and 2,000 tonnes of hardcore – but locals say the land would be worth £3m if developed.
The newcomers arrived at Easter last year and were subsequently issued an injunction banning development of the site and ordered to leave.
More than 200 residents also complained about the rubbish and constant noise from the site.
But now 10 caravans and 10 mobile homes have been allowed to stay after the travellers applied for planning permission in May, because “the development would not unduly harm that character and appearance of the surrounding area”.
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Furious residents have previously reacted angrily to the site.
In a letter to the council, Gary Woods wrote: “I would like to register my vehement objection to this planning application.
“Should this application be allowed it will do nothing other than promote a massive security risk to the homes and businesses in the area."
A dad-of-two added: “I know they need somewhere to live but it’s going to be hard to swallow if they get planning permission in such a fashion.”
East Hertfordshire Council has vowed to fight the ruling.
A spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome. We will be taking further legal advice and looking at our options.”