TRAVELLERS who have lived illegally for almost three years are set to finally be thrown off the site.
The group, who are living on land close to the village of Hardhorn, took their bid for planning permission to court - but lost their case.
It means the decision to deny planning permission and force them off the site, south of Fairfield Road, in Staining, stands, and the travellers’ only option is to turn to the Court of Appeal or give up their fight and leave the field by July next year.
Residents group the Hardhorn, Staining, Singleton and Poulton (HSSP) residents have been campaigning to have the travellers evicted since they arrived in November 2009.
And a spokesman for the group said: “We are pleased and also relieved that the decision stands as we are keen to have the open countryside returned as it was prior to November 2009 and live in peace.
“Three and half years is a long time to reside without permission, we are still astounded how long this has all taken and the cost.”
The travellers were refused planning permission by both the council and the Government to live in their caravans on the site, and had an enforcement notice served on them to leave the site and return it to its original condition by July next year.
They attempted to claim in court on Monday the secretary of state’s decision was not made on evidence heard at the appeal, and the enforcement notice should not stand.
But on Wednesday their case was dismissed along with their request for leave to appeal by the judge, and their only remaining option is now to go direct to the Court of Appeal.
However, Fylde Council’s chief executive Allan Oldfield said the case could not be seen as a “victory” because of the amount it had cost the tax-payer.
He said: “The good news for the residents and from an enforcement point of view is the enforcement notice now continues to tick away so July next year is the time they have to vacate the site because they don’t have the planning permission to remain.
“They can still appeal the decision but we were confident before today that the case would be found against the applicant and our enforcement notice and refusal of planning permission would stand, otherwise it would have set a dangerous precedent.
“But we would rather this process had not gone ahead, it has cost every resident of this borough.”