A UKIP candidate who hopes to become MP for Tring has blasted plans to build up to 200 homes and five gypsy pitches in the town.
The proposals – made under the LA5 masterplan of Dacorum Borough Council’s core strategy for development until 2031 – were first announced last week.
They are being drawn up in anticipation of population growth and a new demand for homes in the town, where more than 11,500 people now live.
South West Herts UKIP candidate Mark Anderson blames mass immigration for the proposed development – which would be built on Green Belt land.
People are moving out of London to areas like Tring, pushing up property prices, due to the influx of immigrants moving to the capital, he said.
“People in South West Herts have not felt the full brunt of that yet and it’s going to come as a shock to many people.”
The proposed homes would be built in west Tring alongside an expansion of the cemetery and industrial estate on a site between Icknield Way and Aylesbury Way.
But Mr Anderson said: “People do not want vast swathes of Tring to be urbanised like Hemel Hempstead. They want the town to grow organically.
“They do not want it to be a knock-on effect of mass immigration and if you then force politically correct traveller pitches on them, that really does annoy people.”
He said that there should be no need for county councils to have gypsy sections – as is the current situation.
Herts County Council’s website says the county has one of the highest gypsy populations in England and that the section helps ‘limit unauthorised encampments’.
But Mr Anderson said: “When we look at traveller sites in this day and age in modern Britain, you cannot have special dispensation for any group.”
Under the council’s current proposals, 40% of the new properties would be affordably priced – 75% of which will be rented while the rest will be sold through shared ownership.
But Mr Anderson said there are no guarantees the affordable homes will be reserved for people who live in Tring.
He said the development will place an extra strain the town’s resources.
The father-of-two said that Goldfield Infants and Nursery School, which is near the site, could be ‘overwhelmed’ by the demand for new places.
A public exhibition of the plans will be held at the Temperance Hall in Christchurch Road, Tring, from 2pm to 8pm on Tuesday, October 14.
People have until 5.15pm on Wednesday, November 5, to have their say on the plans online at consult.dacorum.gov.uk
But Mr Anderson said: “The consultation period is woefully inadequate, as are the consultation mechanisms. There’s one meeting about this that leaves barely enough time for commuters to get to it.”
Dacorum Borough Council’s assistant director of planning, development and regeneration James Doe said the exhibition is only part of the process of collecting people’s views.
He said the masterplan takes forward a proposal already agreed in the authority’s core strategy – which itself went through a long consultation and was examined by an independent inspector.
He said: “The exhibition is an opportunity to question council officers, and any developers who attend, and is part of a thorough process with stage lasting for the statutory six weeks.”
You can learn more about the plans at www.dacorum.gov.uk/siteallocations or by contacting the council’s strategic planning team on 01442 228072 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Current South West Herts MP David Gauke – who is a Tory – did not respond to requests for a comment on the development proposals.