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Decade-long Helsby Travellers site saga could have an end point

Group given another nine months to leave the land off Primrose Lane

Families living in Green Meadows Chalet Park, Alvanley, must leave by May 2017

A decade-long saga surrounding a Travellers site in Helsby could have an end point - in nine months' time.

Four caravans have been settled off Primrose Lane and Towers Lane on the border with Alvanley since 2006.

But now the group have been given until May 2017 to move on.

The Planning Inspectorate dismissed the Travellers’ appeal to be allowed to stay on the site permanently.

They were first issued with an enforcement notice to leave Green Meadows Chalet Park by Cheshire West and Chester Council more than two years ago.

Cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure councillor Brian Clarke said: “Green Meadow Chalet Park has a related planning history dating back to 2006 when a change-of-use application for what was originally farm land was first submitted to the former Vale Royal Borough Council.

“The application, which included the stationing of four caravans for residential purposes, was refused by the council but allowed on appeal in 2009 for two years.

Green Meadow Chalet Park off Towers Lane, Helsby.

“Further applications for permanent occupation of the site were approved, but only for occupation until February 2014.

“An application for use of the land as a private Gypsy and Traveller caravan site was refused by CWaC and an enforcement notice served in May 2014.

“Both were appealed by the applicant but in May this year the Planning Inspectorate issued a decision to dismiss both appeals.

Travellers evicted from Westminster Park in Chester

“The inspector, when making the decision, varied the enforcement notice to require the occupants to leave the site by May 19, 2017.”

There have been a sequence of applications for the Travellers to use the park temporarily.

But the planning inspector decided it would be ‘inappropriate’ for the spot near Helsby Golf Club, which is also part of the green belt, to become a permanent caravan park.

The entrance to Green Meadow Chalet Park where the Travellers are based.

This plan included laying concrete and putting up fencing at the site.

Members of the Helsby community have long battled for the Travellers to be moved on, having previously accused the council of ‘dragging its heels’ on the issue.

Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans has also been involved and expressed his ‘relief’ at the decision.

Mr Evans said: “I had been inundated with letters and emails from worried constituents about the illegal site for the last few years.

“I know local residents will share my relief the inspector saw fit to protect this area of green belt.

“This has been a lengthy campaign and I’m delighted that in has now been finally concluded.

“I would like to thank all local residents for their patience whilst the correct legal process has been followed – a process which has ultimately protected this delightful area of green belt for future generations to enjoy.”

Travellers set up camp in Ellesmere Port

After 10 years, perhaps there will now be and end to this saga.

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