Cowling Farm site ‘wrong place for gypsy site’

Cowling Farm site  ‘wrong place for gypsy site’

Cowling Farm site ‘wrong place for gypsy site’

First published in News
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This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Plans for a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site costing more than half a million pounds in a rural area close to a pub and historic cottages have been revealed.

The project would see land at Cowling Farm, Cowling Road, Chorley transformed into five permanent residences for Gypsies and Travellers.

After being told to do so by a government-appointed planning inspector, Chorley Council has identified nine locations as part of the Local Plan process.

The instruction from the planning inspectorate telling the council it has to find a site comes after a study earlier this year identified a need for permanent pitches for five caravans.

Temporary permission was granted last year for a Gypsy and Traveller site at Hut Lane, Heath Charnock, which had been occupied by a traveller family for four years without approval.

The council-owned Cowling Farm site would provide an alternative site to Hut Lane.

Cowling Farm, the most expensive option among the nine at £560,000, has been chosen from nine potential sites.

Other sites that were analysed are Yarrow Bridge Depot, off Bolton Road, Chorley; Cabbage Hall Fields, off Cowslip Way, Chorley; land off Westhoughton Road, Heath Charnock; land at Ackhurst Road, Chorley, land adjacent to Northgate Drive, Chorley; Crosse Hall Lane, Chorley; Harrisons Farm, off Harrison Road, Adlington; and Hut Lane, Heath Charnock.

Glenn Hutchinson, is the landlord of The Spinners pub, adjacent to the proposed site said he and local residents were angered by the proposals.

He said: “It’s not the right place, it’s as simple as that. It’s a semi-rural location on the outskirts of town.

“This area is the gateway from Chorley to Rivington and the West Pennine Moors. All the residents around here are appalled we were not informed of this by the council even though dozens of others were consulted.

“It’s just moving all the issues from Hut Lane on to our doorstep.”

Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “The issue of whether there is a need for a Gypsy and Traveller site within the borough has been going on for many years.

“We’ve scoured the whole borough looking for locations and the site at Cowling Farm, Chorley, meets the basic requirements and is deliverable in the next few years.

“It’s been a very frustrating process for the council because time and again decisions on what’s best for Chorley have been taken out of our hands by the planning inspectorate and now we’re in a position where we’ve been told we need to find a permanent site, people will think our opposition to a permanent site at Hut Lane has been a waste of time.

“That’s not the case because if we had approved that development for a permanent provision it could have set a dangerous precedent allowing people to build on our precious greenbelt.”

Once the consultation is complete the comments will be reviewed before a final preferred option is put forward for approval by the council in the autumn.

That site, containing five pitches, would then be offered to the existing Traveller family, which currently occupies Hut Lane with temporary permission.

This will allow the council to progress its local plan to adoption.

The consultation will run until Wednesday, July 16 – all the details will be published at Chorley.gov.uk under Chorley Local Plan 2012-26 or you can visit the council offices, on Union Street.

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