PLANS for a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site on the old Foxfields pub in Rivacre, Ellesmere Port, have been dropped.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) announced yesterday that the Rivacre site was no longer deemed suitable.
It is now instructing consultants to find alternative locations for a permanent Travellers’ site in Ellesmere Port after news the Government is unlikely to fund the proposed Foxfields pub site.
Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for Prosperity, said: “We have been informed the Government does not believe the Foxfield may be an acceptable location and is therefore unlikely to attract the necessary funding.
“The Government still requires this authority to provide a site in Ellesmere Port for a long established Travelling community that regards the town as their home.”
Ellesmere Port Labour MP Andrew Miller said: “I welcome the fact the council agrees with me that the site is unsuitable and I welcome the Government’s position.”
Labour Group leader Cllr Derek Bateman said: “It is accepted a permanent site is needed in Ellesmere Port and the administration and local members must now work together in partnership to identify a suitable site.
“While consultants continue the search for a more appropriate location, Travellers will continue to be accommodated on our accepted site in Oilsites Road.
“Only the establishment of permanent sites will enable us to limit the incidence of unlawful encampments and developments.
“At present, appeals against our refusal to grant planning permission are being upheld by inspectors simply because we do not have the required number of permanent sites.”
Mr Miller said: “I agree with Derek Bateman that a site has to be found to strengthen our legal position.”
Central and Westminster councillor Justin Madders said: “I am pleased the council have listened to the concerns raised by residents.”
The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) – which sets out planning policy for the North West – has published consultation figures, requiring Cheshire West and Chester to provide a minimum of 45 permanent pitches and 10 transit pitches by 2016.
But Cheshire West and Chester, which already has 59 pitches on five sites, has challenged the RSS figures, suggesting the new provision should range between 31 and 45 new pitches.