Travellers’ site is discussed at public inquiry meeting

The public inquiry at Chorley Town Hall

The public inquiry at Chorley Town Hall

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A public inquiry opened yesterday into the controversial travellers’ site plans.

Earlier in the month, councillors met at a special meeting at Chorley Town Hall and voted for the proposed site at Cowling Farm, Chorley.

The voting at the special meeting went 29 in favour, 13 against and one abstention.

The decision has now gone to the inquiry which is expected to finish today.

Inspector Susan Heywood will listen to representations from members of the public over the decision.

The meeting attracted a number of members of the public as well as Patty Linfoot, whose traveller family moved into a site on Hut Lane, Charnock Richard, a number of years ago.

The Linfoots are set to move onto the site on Cowling Lane after the Government told Chorley Council it must provide a site for a minimum of five traveller pitches.

A number of subjects were discussed at the meeting, including potential sites for the future and if the preferred site and the alternatives been subject to adequate sustainability appraisal.

Inspector Heywood said: “This site allows potential growth from their own family and it allows their families to expand.

“However, other traveller families would need to be accommodated at a further site.”

Michael Hargreaves, who represented the Linfoot and Bird families, said: “In my experience the issues of further allocations needs to be addressed in the future development plans.

“I would encourage South Ribble to make provisions for traveller sites as I think they are important.

“My advice is that there is nothing wrong with another allocation on the Cowling Farm site but it shouldn’t be directly next to the proposed site.”

The plans for the site sparked controversy from a number of residents in the Cowling area.

Nine locations were identified with the Cowling site being the preferred option.

Glen Hutchinson, owner of The Spinners at Cowling pub, claimed that his pub could be put out of business after the car park had been identified as access to the proposed site.

The proposed site is expected to cost £560,000.