Vow to fight traveller site

Caravans at Lancaster Road, Preesall
Caravans at Lancaster Road, Preesall
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RESIDENTS have vowed to fight a bid by travellers to set up a permanent home in Over Wyre.

But the travellers, who moved onto land off Lancaster Road in Preesall in 2009, say all they want is a safe place to bring up their families.

Last year members of Wyre Council unanimously threw out an application by the group to make their home more permanent with hard standing, utility buildings and an access road.

This was followed with an enforcement notice served to the travellers requiring them to vacate the site and remove all material deposited there.

The planning inspectorate has now announced a three-day public inquiry from Tuesday March 29 discussing both the refusal and the notice.

Sue Slinger, of Preesall Resident’s Group, said: “We have all made our written report to the planning inspectorate and we shall speak at the public inquiry to re-enforce our objections.”

Preesall councillor Paul Moon says he hopes the planning inspectorate will support the views of residents and councillors.

He added: “I still feel the development would be a visual intrusion and would have a detrimental impact on the open countryside.

“I would like to say how pleased I am with the way residents have conducted themselves, they have kept good order at every planning meeting, are always well-mannered and I am proud of their efforts over this,”

Kevin Gibson, a traveller living on the site, added: “I don’t know what we can say to reassure people of our intentions but all we are asking for is somewhere to live.

“The council has to realise it needs to do something for us.

“I watched the television programme Big Fat Gypsy Weddings with my kids last night and they were absolutely traumatised by what they saw.

“A site was being torn down by bulldozers while the travellers protested and my children were asking ‘is that will happen to us’, it’s not fair.

“Everyone is entitled to a home, we have a community here, we are all friends and of course we want a more permanent site to call home.”

A Wyre Council spokesman said it has been working with members of the travelling community since 2009 to establish a policy for pitch provision.

The public inquiry will take place at Wyre Civic Centre on Tuesday March 29 at 10am.

An inquiry will also be held on Tuesday February 8 in relation to travellers who set up camp on land off Fairfield Road in Hardhorn.