COUNCILLORS have called an extraordinary meeting to discuss a proposed Travellers’ site in Ship Street – days after they refused to debate it.
A special town council meeting tonight (Friday ) at 6.30pm in the town council office in The Footman’s Cottage, Castle Park.
Mayor Pammi Taylor has called the meeting but she said it “had nothing to do” with public criticism of her refusal to debate the issue at last week's town council meeting.
She had told residents there was “nothing to discuss” since there was no firm proposal for the Ship Street site.
Councillor Frank Pennington – who has started a petition against the site – urged councillors to debate the issue, claiming: “These people want to know what we think.”
And former town councillor Tom Reynolds accused the authority of “focusing on procedure and its own self-importance instead of considering residents’ needs.”
However, Cllr Taylor said: “Since last week’s meeting the borough council have indicated they would appreciate the town council giving them some idea of whether we would be in favour or against Ship Street being identified as a potential travellers site, and have asked us to respond by October 17.
“I am conscious that people are uneasy and unhappy about this situation and their opinions will count.
“I have promised residents that their views will form the basis of the town council's submission to Vale Royal, and I have called this extraordinary meeting to ensure we get our own public consultation done in time.”
Cllr Taylor is proposing a town council questionnaire be delivered to households from August 15, allowing about three weeks for responses to be returned and scrutinised before the town council meeting on September 22 when members will consider its formal submission to Vale Royal.
Residents who attend tonight’s meeting will be allowed to have their say, said Cllr Taylor. She added: “If one or two people are put forward as spokesmen I will allow them to speak, but I don’t want people all talking at once and losing their tempers.”
Ship Street is one of four locations across Vale Royal Borough identified as meeting government criteria for potential permanent Travellers’ sites.