Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning speaks out against gypsy site near Little Gaddesden

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AN MP who was criticised by village leaders for his lack of action over an illegal gypsy site says he is doing everything he can to move them on.

Little Gaddesden Parish Council say the site Valley View – between Hudnall Lane and Hemel Hempstead Road – could become “another Dale Farm”.

During a meeting on Monday, its members said MP Mike Penning was not doing enough to move them out of the Area of Natural Beauty, next to the Ashridge Estate.

But the MP, who represents the Hemel Hempstead area – including Little Gaddesden, has now complained that he was not even invited to the meeting where they spoke about the issue.

He said: “Everyone who knows me knows I would not keep quiet about a gypsy site next to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I think it’s fundamentally wrong.

“If one of my constituents wanted to build a block of flats there, they would be turned down flat.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure this does not happen – even though it is outside of the county.”

He said he has already written to the Secretary of State responsible for planning to ask what powers he has to deal with the situation.

He said: “I have blocked these things in my constituency in the past and will try to stop this too.”

But the site lies within the boundaries of Central Beds Council, just outside of Herts.

Little Gaddesden Parish Council has also written to South West Beds MP Andrew Selous about the gypsy site, but said on Monday that he has not yet replied.

There were 15 letters of objection after a planning application was submitted for four caravans at the site, which only has permission for one.

Two extra caravans have already moved onto the land.

The owner has now also asked Central Beds Council for a certificate of lawful development for the three caravans to be there.

A decision is expected to be made by Friday on whether they can stay at the site.