Bishop's Stortford MP Julie Marson backs protection order for 'camp site' off Rye Street
Bishop's Stortford's MP is pressing East Herts Council to safeguard one of the town's last remaining green lungs.
Julie Marson has written to fellow Conservative Cllr Jan Goodeve, EHC's executive member for planning and growth, urging her to use planning legislation to issue what is known as an 'Article 4 direction' on the meadows between Rye Street and the railway line, removing permitted development rights "as soon as possible".
The MP said: "I am writing on behalf of a number of constituents who contacted me with their concerns over the piece of Green Belt land being sold privately. I am extremely concerned to hear this."
She said she had been working with Cllr David Snowdon, who represents Meads ward on the town and East Herts district councils, and with Cllr John Wyllie, leader of the town council, a member of EHC and a Herts county councillor whose HCC division includes the site.
Speculators selling the grassland have demanded as much as £1m from Bishop's Stortford Town Council for the 0.25-acre plots, which Mrs Marson said was "unrealistic".
The town council said it made a "generous" offer to Exclusive Property Sales and Auctioneers to buy the whole site adjoining Grange Paddocks but was turned down.
Potential buyers have been told the plots next to the River Stort are perfect for camper vans and mobile homes, and do not require planning permission for up to 28 overnight stays a year. This is disputed by the council, which says a camping site is not permitted.
Cllr Snowdon is ramping up a defence to any speculative planning proposals by gathering evidence that the land is a wildlife haven and potential home to protected species including bats.
The Stortford Indie has contacted London-based Exclusive Property Sales and Auctioneers by email and telephone to clarify its marketing and sales plans but has not had a response to questions.