alex A CONTROVERSIAL target of 33 new traveller pitches in the St Albans district will be confirmed or thrown out, depending on a public investigation starting tomorrow.
Regional planners set the target after a consultation widely condemned as flawed.
ST Albans MP Anne Main said: "In my opinion, the consultation was skewed as they did not offer a “no” option and always proposed 33 extra pitches for St Albans, whichever option was selected - this
cannot be right.
" I hope that my written submissions will be fully taken into account by the panel, as the decisions being taken will have far reaching implications for my constituents.
"St Albans overwhelmingly declined to accept further gypsy and traveller pitches, and local people know that we already have a generous provision in our area.
"This examination of the evidence must take on board the views of local residents, factor in our current generous provision and not just be another government box-ticking exercise."
It is widely accepted that there are not enough pitches on official sites to cope with demand, but critics such as Mrs Main argue St Albans already has more than its fair share and does not have
room for more.
The proposed new planning guidance is being argued out at an "examination in public" a less formal and confrontational process han a public inquiry which does not necessarily involve
cross-exmination of witnesses