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‘We’ll fight approval for traveller site...’

Fylde Council's development management committee meet at Kirkham Community Centre to discuss a travellers site in Newton

Fylde Council's development management committee meet at Kirkham Community Centre to discuss a travellers site in Newton

“We will fight on.”

That was the message from campaigning residents after a controversial travellers site was given the green light by Fylde Council.

The authority’s Development Management Committee voted nine to seven in favour of caravans for four traveller families moving on to a site at Builders Yard Land, off Thames Street, in Newton, during a meeting at Kirkham Community Centre.

The decision was met with cries of disapproval from more than 200 residents who had turned up for the meeting.

Derrick Ingram, chairman of Newton Residents Association, now hopes the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, will ‘call-in’ the application and review the decision himself.

Mr Ingram said: “I’m devastated because we thought we had all the right arguments and the decision seems to have been taken on political grounds.

“We are going to review our options but we are confident we can fight on.

“We can possibly take it to the Government, but it’s not over just yet.”

The plans will see caravans placed on the site for four families, along with an amenity block, sewage treatment plan, and boundary fence.

Nine people spoke at the meeting to oppose the application on a number of grounds, from the site being subject to flooding, the potential loss two Grade II listed farm buildings and blocking of highways.

Coun Maxine Chew said: “Rural Fylde does not have a lot of old buildings and the buildings we do have should be restored.

“If this committee approves this application it could be an opportunity lost to save what are very important buildings in rural Fylde.”

However, the application was passed as planners felt it would not harm surrounding premises or ruin highways.

Mark Evans, head of Planning at Fylde Council, said: “My opinion is the establishment of a small caravan site for these families living in this location would not have an impact on highways.

He added: “This proposal will not adversely affect the setting of a listed building so we don’t think English Heritage needs to be consulted with.”

Michael Gornall, from Newton Residents Association, added: “My initial reaction was disappointment.

“It was clearly argued the need for this was questionable and there were some strong planning arguments against it.”

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