Decision over travellers caravan site is deferred

Coun Allan Matthews
Coun Allan Matthews
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A decision on whether a traveller family should be granted permission to move permanently on semi-rural land in Marton has been deferred.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee has asked for more information before ruling on an application for a traveller caravan site for one static caravan, two touring caravans and a parking area, to be sited on School Road.

Councillors said they struggled to understand what the purpose the land would serve for the Jenkins family.

The land currently houses two touring caravans but neighbours say it is constantly home to heavy goods vehicles.

The committee said it had concerns that if the application was approved it would see “touring caravans that never move off site” and said they may impose restrictions on the time the caravans can be on the site.

Coun Adrian Hutton said: “I have reservations that touring caravans could quickly become static caravans.

“ I don’t believe they are going to be moved that much.

“This is in a housing area, not a caravan area.”

Applicant Brian Jenkins said touring caravans were necessary in his culture for the family to travel during school holidays.

Mr Jenkins has been living on the site with his wife and five children since October, despite an order from the council calling for them to stop living there.

A planning application was submitted three days after the authority’s request.

This application, then for five caravans and two outbuildings, was refused in December on the grounds that the site would have “a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area and the amenities” of the neighbours.

Neighbours said they feared the land was being used as an “industrial estate” as heavy good vehicles come and go from the land, but Mr Jenkins said this was simply friends and family visiting them in their works trucks.

Coun Allan Matthews said: “I appreciate it’s your way of life but you’ve got to accommodate the neighbours.”

While the council has acknowledged the need for further sites for travellers in Blackpool, planning bosses have stressed harm from any proposed sites must not outweigh the need.

The application has been deferred to a later date while the committee seeks further assurances and information.