Traveller family are supported at meeting

Traveller talk: Folk gather at the meeting.
Traveller talk: Folk gather at the meeting.
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A SHOW of support from across the community was given to a Chorley traveller family when more than fifty folk attended a public meeting.

The Romany Gypsy family - the Linfoots - are locked in a bitter struggle with Chorley Council as they fight to remain on their Heath Charnock campsite.

The three-year ordeal also involved another traveller family - the Boswells - at the controversial site, but they moved off the land two months ago.

Since the dispute started in June 2009, there has been ongoing legal action between the families and the council that has ended up in the High Court. The meeting in the Fosterfields Day Centre, Eaves Lane, Chorley, on Thursday evening, was organised by Manchester-based human rights organisation RAPAR.

Shortly before it took place the Linfoots received the welcome news that the Government has asked the High Court to quash a decision to refuse an appeal by Michael Linfoot to house caravans on the green belt land.

Mr Linfoot said: “I know it doesn’t mean we’ve got planning, but we’ve another fighting chance at it. He told the meeting: “Hopefully we can now overturn the decision. We have got to keep fighting.”

His wife Patty said: “It’s the best decision we’ve had in three-and-a-half years.”

Mr and Mrs Linfoot, their three sons and Patty’s parents have living on the site at Hut Lane. They own the land but Chorley Council have refused to give them planning permission to live on it. Mr Linfoot lays the blame for the whole saga firmly at the feet of the council.

He said: “Basically, it’s Chorley’s fault it’s going this way. They will not talk or meet. They’ve set a budget to try to evict us.”

As regards going to another inquiry, he said; “If that’s what they want to do, and cost them thousands and thousands again, that’s the way it’s going to go.”

Mrs Linfoot, a school governor, said the family was determined to stay on the site for good of their children.

One member of the public praised the Linfoot children. Jo Millington, 44, of Horwich, said; “My children mix with their children. They are a credit to their family.”

Frank Bennett, 65, of Chorley, suggested: “Why not let them stay until the kids are eighteen?”

Reece Bretherton, secretary of Chorley Amateur Boxing Club, which Mr and Mrs Linfoot’s sons attend, thanked the family for the their support of the club and said; “I’m proud to call them friends.”

Chorley Council has hit out at move to quash the decision to refuse Mr Linfoot’s appeal. Leader Coun Alistair Bradley said he was “extremely disappointed”.