Village prepared for traveller fight

Site of proposed traveller site in Newton
Site of proposed traveller site in Newton
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RESIDENTS are gearing up to fight plans for a travellers’ site amid fears it would destroy life in their village.

Four traveller families have submitted an application to move on to a yard in Newton, but local people believe granting them permission would alter the character of their village forever.

And it was standing room only as dozens of residents packed into the village hall to debate how they could fight off the proposals as they go before Fylde Council.

One resident, Tina Ashworth, told the meeting: “I love this village and I’ve only been in it seven years.

“I think it’s wonderful but it will not be if you get this (site).”

Fellow resident Andrew Gregson added that the move would have wide ranging implications for the village.

He said: “This really is going to impact on quality of life – it affects things like house prices and it affects everyone.”

The plans – which will be decided by Fylde Council’s planning committee – are for up to four static caravans, four mobile caravans, an amenity block, package sewage treatment plant, new boundary fence and the formation of a landscaped mound on the old builders yard, off Thames Street.

Gill Tattersall, who lives close to the site, highlighted flooding issues in the area.

She said: “We have land opposite where the site is and I can have 18ft of water through my buildings – I’ve had pigs drown in the flood water. Surface water is fine, we have to deal with it – but what about these four families?

“There are a million and one worries with this.”

The travellers are not currently living on the land but local people are incensed “enabling” work has already taken place on the site and accused the council of failing to act on their concerns.

But Coun Trevor Fiddler, the council’s cabinet member for planning, defended the council’s actions – and stressed there were key differences between this application and the travellers’ site off Fairfield Road, in Staining, where a number of families had moved on to a site illegally.

He said: “The fact there’s been a boundary fence erected around a piece of land in the ownership of that person doesn’t merit a stop notice (an order to halt work).

“The difference between Fairfield Road and your scenario is a planning application has been received before major works commenced.”

Residents have until April 30 to contact the council with their comments on the application before it is discussed by planners.