Gypsy and Traveller site in Lancashire looks to expand capacity and time it can stay put due to worries over future permanent site
A temporary Gypsy and Traveller site is looking to expand its capacity and the length of time it is allowed to exist as worries over the timescale of a permanent site grow.
The community, living at Heath Paddock in Hut Lane, Heath Charnock, has applied to Chorley Council to extend its licence to live at the site to five years.
In July, Chorley Council ruled that the site can stay put for a further three years following delays to the building of a permanent alternative by the council as part of the Cowling Farm masterplan.
The masterplan between the council and Homes England is looking to bring 150 new homes, business units and a 0.4 hectare permanent Gypsy and Traveller site to land between Cowling Road and the M61 carriageway.
In a document submitted to the council, planning agent acting on behalf of the community, Michael Hargreaves, writes: “We need to be reasonably confident that by the end of the period that Cowling Farm will have been developed and the applicants can relocate onto the site.
“The problem is that there are so many assumptions made in the timetable that it is impossible to be confident that the site will be developed within three years.
“We are suggesting that the use of the site is approved for five years.
“Even that may not prove enough but it has a better chance of being realistic than three years.”
The community is also looking to expand the capacity of the site – currently at five caravans – through two touring caravans for family members “who may require accommodation on the site within the five year period”.
In July, Chorley Council refused a plea from the community to allow additional two caravans on the site, instead following planning officer recommendations for a three-year site extension with no additional homes.
In a statement to the council, Heath Paddock resident Sylvia Patricia Linfoot writes: “In three years, let alone five, a number of things could happen which could create a need for more accommodation on our site. We want the flexibility to be able to accommodate some of those needs.”
Mrs Linfoot goes into detail about her family, including her 80-year-old aunt Shirley, who has previously fallen and broke her arm in a number of places.
“She has a pitch on the council site at Blackpool,” she writes.
“Gypsy people like to look after their own, and it is easy to imagine that there could be a time where she would need more support.
“If we had the right to bring a caravan on the site for her, my mother and I would be able to give her the support she is likely to need.”
She also goes into detail about the needs for her 17-year-old son who may want a caravan of his own within five years if and when he gets married.
Mr Hargreaves adds: “The point Mrs Linfoot makes is that the overall situation of accommodation shortage and stress that Gypsy people suffer from means it is important to have flexibility to be able to respond to different needs.
“Seven caravans represents a balance between the capacity of the site and the potential need.”
Chorley Council is yet to make a decision on the application.