TRAVELLERS living illegally on a Fylde field have re-launched their fight to be allowed to stay.
The group was ordered to leave the land, in Staining, after losing a planning battle with Fylde Council – but has now begun a legal challenge which could see that decision fought and the travellers’ stay at the site prolonged.
The travellers have now been living on the land, which is south of Fairfield Road, for more than two years.
They need to leave by August and return the site to its original condition and, despite being out of time to appeal that order, Fylde Council has revealed the travellers have requested special permission for extra time to begin their challenge.
They are also challenging the council’s decision to refuse planning permission.
Staining Coun Maxine Chew represents some of the residents living close to the site and said: “The travellers are causing the residents the greatest distress.
“The appeal deadline passed and they had not appealed or submitted a challenge and now they’re asking to extend that time retrospectively.
“It is costing a huge amount of money to Fylde Council to continue to fight this and force them to move to a site that has got planning permission.
“They should leave next August – they are trying to spin it out with appeal after appeal so they will have been there that long everybody will give up.”
In a statement, Fylde Council said it believed the late submission of the travellers’ challenge to the enforcement order “causes injustice to residents in the area around the site”.
A court will now have to decided whether to accept the challenge, and if successful, it is likely to be heard at the same time as the appeal against the refusal of planning permission.
Councillors are also due to discuss alleged breaches to a court injunction already in place on the site at next week’s development management committee meeting, and debate whether action should be taken against the travellers.
Fylde Council’s statement added: “Councillors will consider a number of alleged breaches of the injunction.
They will take into account the possible consequences of further action for the settled community and the travellers.”
The court order prevents any more hardcore being put on the land, the static caravans being moved or added to and any business taking place on the land.