MORE than 200 angry villagers packed a meeting asking for travellers to be treated the same as everyone else.
Residents, who met at Mickle Trafford Primary School, vented their frustrations at councillors and officials over plans to allow more travellers to set up home in the area.
Applications are lodged for 10 caravans in the green belt at The Street, Hoole Village, and to double the size of an existing five-van site in Plemstall Lane, Mickle Trafford.
Hardcore was laid down at the Hoole Village site earlier this year but an injunction by Cheshire West and Chester Council prevents further work. It is currently occupied by stables, four vans and four portable toilets.
Resident David Cowan, of Greenfield Lane, said he had sought permission for an extension and it had taken 18 months and thousands of pounds before gaining approval.
He asked: “How can some bloke go and put caravans and hard standing and some buildings on a site without planning permission and we can’t do anything about it?”
One resident, who acknowledged he was ‘a refugee’ from Tyneside, added: “We just want these people to be treated as you would treat any of us here.”
Ex-county councillor David Rowlands said: “I want you to be aware of the seething resentment felt by members of this community at the prospect of travellers being able to buy land and set up camp on it, apparently unscathed.”
Planning officer Fiona Edwards told the meeting: “Carrying out development without planning permission is not a criminal offence. Fortunately, we were sensible enough to seek planning permission. Unfortunately, we have to go through the vagaries of the system.”
Agent Philip Brown, who supports the retrospective application in Hoole Village, argues it should be allowed in the green belt because the council is providing insufficient traveller sites. But Mrs Edwards said the existing requirement had been met.
The council has received more than 100 objections to The Street application and about 20 for the Plemstall Lane proposal.