HUNDREDS of concerned residents launched verbal attacks on councillors over the lack of public consultation and consideration for settled communities over proposed Gipsy and Travellers sites in Cheshire.
Councillors faced an onslaught of accusations as more than 300 people packed into the meeting room at Cheshire West and Chester Council HQ as the Executive met to decide the fate of new sites in the region on Wednesday (September 7).
Chaos erupted as residents shouted and heckled, criticising the process as a ‘disgusting shambles’ and a ‘disgrace’, with police attending to help calm the crowds while one group staged a walk out in protest.
Despite more than two hours of lengthy arguments and debate, members voted to note the consultation document, allowing the proposed council-owned sites in Oakwood Farm, Saughall and Bumpers Lane, off Sealand Road to go through the planning process.
Councillors believe the decision will allow them to consider accusations and concerns raised during the meeting, including fears from residents that the proposed transit site in Oakwood Farm acted in complete contradiction to the report as it is on Green Belt land and was wholly unnecessary, while being able to move towards fulfilling the much-needed quota of 32-45 sites.
Other sites which were noted for planning during the meeting included Rossfield Road in Ellesmere Port; Buildwas Road, Neston; Blakeden Lane/Browning Way in Winsford; and Road One in Winsford.
But councillors expressed the view that more private sites could follow if landowners decided to launch planning applications for Traveller pitches on their land, and admitted that mistakes had been made during the process.