Extra pitches are needed for travellers in Chorley

Cowling Farm

Cowling Farm

2
Have your say

Eleven permanent pitches for travellers are needed in Chorley, a report has found - more than double the number previously identified.

It had been stated that five pitches were needed and Chorley Council has earmarked Cowling Farm, off Cowling Road, for a permanent gypsy and traveller site as part of the Chorley Local Plan.

“I want the certainty that a local plan would bring and I continue to be frustrated by the approach of the Government to change national policy and guidance almost it seems on a whim, leading to delays for councils such as ours in progressing important local documents such as these plans because of the uncertainty this creates.”

Coun Alistair Bradley

But the inspector examining the plan was concerned the need may have been underestimated and asked for more work to be done.

And a report presented to the council’s executive cabinet meeting on Thursday said 11 pitches were now required.

The revised assessment was completed last month and the figure is “largely based” on the travellers currently based on Hut Lane, Heath Charnock.

But council bosses are seeking more clarity over the future need after the Government committed to review the legislative and policy framework.

At the meeting, council leader Coun Alistair Bradley said: “The concern we have on this report is not with the methodology but it is more to do with the fundamental policy and legislative framework set up by central Government.”

Members of the executive cabinet were told council officers could be asked to do further work to find out when the Government’s revised guidance on travellers would be issued and if there were any “local circumstances” that could influence the figure needed in Chorley.

Coun Bradley said: “Central Government has recently given a commitment to review the entire legislative framework in relation to gypsies and travellers.

“We have a report that lands in the middle of that statement.”

The report will go before the full council in July for discussion and councillors will be able to decide how to respond to it.

After the meeting, Coun Bradley said: “I want the certainty that a local plan would bring and I continue to be frustrated by the approach of the Government to change national policy and guidance almost it seems on a whim, leading to delays for councils such as ours in progressing important local documents such as these plans because of the uncertainty this creates.”

Peter Talbot, from Cowling Action Group, said members were concerned about the cost of providing 11 pitches and they hope to work with the council as the plans progress.

The assessment also identified a need for 22 pitches in Preston, one in South Ribble and a Central Lancashire-wide need for four transit pitches for the period up to 2026.