Travellers get green light

Travellers site on School Road, Blackpool.
Travellers site on School Road, Blackpool.
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A traveller family has been granted permission to move permanently on to semi-rural land in Marton.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee passed the application for a static caravan, two touring caravans, shower block and parking area to be sited in School Road.

The controversial decision had previously been deferred by councillors, who said they struggled to understand what purpose the land would serve for the family concerned.

But planning officers recommended it be approved on the basis that there is a need for the site as part of the Fylde Coast Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment (2014).

The land has been used by the Jenkins family since October 2014 for their two touring caravans, despite a previous order from the council calling for them to stop living there.

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

The committee said it had concerns that if the application was approved it would see “touring caravans that never move off site”.

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

An original application, for five caravans and two outbuildings, was refused in December 2014, 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.

Planners imposed several conditions on the approval, which include no vehicle over 3.5 tonnes being stationed, parked or stored on the site.

The site must also not be occupied by anyone other than gypsies and travellers, as defined in the local government’s planning policy for traveller sites.

Coun David Owen, said: “This decision went through committee with a reasonable majority.

“The committee was satisfied that it was entirely for residential use and the applicants accept a string of conditions for use.”