A GROUP of Romany Gypsies say they feel they have been accepted now councillors have passed plans allowing them to expand their site.
The Gypsies of The Conifers on Bambers Lane, Westby, asked Fylde Council for permission to extend six pitches so their older children could set up their own homes on the site.
Tom Ireland from the site said: “This is for our families to be able to grow.
“We are Romany Gypsies, we are not travellers and we do not want another Dale Farm. This is for our family.
“We are trying to fit in with the community, we are trying to be like you.
“I have a 17-year-old girl, another who’s 14 and another is 10 and my boy’s three. We are not able to live in two caravans, it’s not hygienic.
“I am not educated and I am not proud of that, but my children are in school and college and we are trying to fit in with the community, but we are still Gypsies.”
Members of Fylde Council’s Development Management Committee heard residents living on Bambers Lane were not happy with plans to extend the pitches.
Local resident Josephine Smith said: “The original application for this site was for six pitches. For a long time there have been 17 caravans, and sometimes up to 22.
“There are big trucks coming up the narrow road and I feel the behaviour on the lane can quite often be intimidating.”
Fellow Resident Bernard Bateson said Bambers Lane, a single carriageway with a large ditch along the side, was already struggling with the amount of traffic.
He added: “We’ve got people who live here and on the site coming up and down, as well as people picking up children from the skate park. Numbers suggest there could be up to 116 cars driving along a road frequently used by dog walkers.”
Susan Walton said she was worried about the “exponential” growth of the site.
She added: “There is no indication given of the number of teenagers or their ages, or their specific accommodation needs. These needs would have been known five years ago when the development was created.”
Coun Albert Pounder said the site was different to others in the area which attract negative attention.
He added: “We’ve seen sites with anti-social behaviour and up to 60 caravans when they’re restricted to 36, but we’ve not had anything like that from these people.”
Coun Richard Redcliffe added: “It seems to me most of the concerns seem to be about traffic. Bambers Lane is very narrow, but the applicant is offering to provide two additional passing points.”
Coun Linda Nulty added: “I think the residents would be happier if there was more enforcement.”
Councillors voted unanimously to pass the application.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ireland said: “It’s nice to have been accepted.
“We are just normal human beings trying to get our families into the community and we have come up against false accusations.”