Relief as traveller’s appeal thrown out

Travellers site at Fairfield Road, Poulton le Fylde
Travellers site at Fairfield Road, Poulton le Fylde

JUBILANT residents are celebrating after a group of travellers lost their bid to continue living in the countryside near their homes.

The Secretary of State has ordered the Collins family to leave the Staining site, which became their home two years ago, after throwing out their planning appeal.

The family were initially refused planning permission by Fylde Council but had attempted to convince a public inquiry they needed to remain on the site, off Fairfield Road, because of the education and health needs of their children.

However, Staining residents have been left delighted after the Secretary of State ruled the travellers’ personal needs did not outweigh the fact the site “would cause harm to the landscape character of the area, visual amenity and highway safety”.

The travellers must now leave within 12 months or Fylde Council can tow their caravans away.

A spokesman for the Hardhorn, Singleton, Staining and Poulton residents’ group, which was set up to fight the site, said: “Obviously we are delighted with the decision and the right decision has been made. We live in a society with laws, especially planning laws, that need to be followed.”

The decision marks the end of a long-running planning battle which began when the travellers moved their caravans on to the land without planning permission in November 2009.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies (pictured) was one of those who addressed planning inspector Keri Williams, and he said: “It’s vital the principle that people are not simply allowed to flout planning regulations is upheld.

“I am sure the local people in and around Fairfield Road will be pleased by the decision.”

The Secretary of State made the final decision after receiving Mr Williams report following requests from Mr Menzies and Wyre MP Ben Wallace.

Mr Wallace added: “I hope the long suffering residents of the surrounding area will now see light at the end of the tunnel and can look forward to getting their lives back to normality.

“I would also like to congratulate them for the way they have conducted themselves throughout this long struggle.”

Fylde Council spent £75,000 fighting the appeal.

A spokesman said: “We’re very pleased for the residents of the area. They’ve had to put up with an illegal development on their doorstep for too long and we’re only sorry so much public money has been spent enforcing the law.”