Britain’s first permanent gipsy site, Barbaraville, is facing up to the threat posed by plans for a new composting plant.
The facility would operate just yards from the doors of residents at the park established by novelist Barbara Cartland 40 years ago.
The same families have lived in the well-tended caravans for three generations and protestors believe that the stench such a plant would create means that it should not be within half a mile of any homes.
Cartland’s son Ian McCorquodale succeeded his mother as trustee of the charity and is continuing efforts to save the site.
He said: “She would have been absolutely horrified that there was going to be this tremendous waste disposal works right next door.”
Resident Lisa Johnson, 27 said: “I’m worried that it won’t be a safe environment to bring up my children. They won’t be able to play outside and we won’t be able to open our windows.”
A protest was organised by the areas Conservative MP, Grant Shapps, with children brandishing placards with the message ‘Stop the Rot’.
Shapps said: “These are hard-working people who pay their taxes and are being treated as second-class citizens.”
A Thames Water spokesman said: “The proposed recycling plant would provide a sustainable way of reducing the amount of waste that Hertfordshire sends to landfill.
“We will do everything we can to run the plant without affecting residents in the immediate area. Much of the composting process would be carried out indoors, and odour control units would be used to stop smells escaping.”