Plans to clean-up a site once used as an unlawful traveller camp – and to raise the level of the ground by up to one metre – have been refused.

The land at Chapel Hall Farm, in Summerswood Lane, Ridge – formerly known as Twin Oaks or Green Valley Farm – was occupied by travellers in 1991.

After a number of applications were refused for private gypsy sites there, travellers were evicted in 2005.

On September 12, Hertsmere Borough Council’s planning committee considered an application to clean up the overgrown site and to raise its level by one metre.

But the application, similar to one that had been submitted some years earlier, was refused.

According to the committee report, the application would include the removal of fly-tipped waste, remaining from the period of unlawful occupation.

And then up to 17,000 m3 of soil would be imported to the site to increase the level.

At the meeting, officers said that while there would be no objection to restoring the agricultural land, there would be an objection to raising the levels.

They said this was due to a lack of information about the materials imported or excavated, the associated traffic, the environmental impacts and highways safety.

According to the report to the committee, 17,000 m3 of soil would require 17,000 lorry movements – the equivalent of 17 lorries a day for 100 days.

That report pointed to the “unacceptable” number of lorries that would require, the narrow lanes and the inappropriateness of development in the greenbelt.

The report also suggested raising the land would impact on drainage and questioned whether the soil could contaminate other fields, used for grazing.

At the meeting the committee unanimously rejected the application.

Speaking against the application, Shenley ward councillor Anthony Spencer said: “The country lanes are very narrow. There’s extensive wildlife around the area and I would agree with officer’s the recommendation that to move mounds of earth and have lorries trembling up and down the roads would bring damage to the environment.”