6:00am Wednesday 7th March 2012
I HAVE read with interest the letters and articles in the Guardian, February 15, regarding Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWAC) strategic planning meeting where the decision to approve outline planning permission for 20 permanent gipsy/traveller pitches at Blakeden Lane/Barlow Drive, Winsford, was granted.
I am a born and bred Winsford man. My family have been part of Winsford town for many generations, and I can reassure you that Winsford people are not bigots.
The Winsford people are frustrated that Cheshire West and Chester Council is giving over two pieces of land, namely Barlow Drive and Road One, Winsford Industrial Estate, for residential purposes that are clearly classed as Industrial/Employment in the Vale Royal Plan.
The town already has two permanent sites, one on Rilshaw Lane for gipsies and travellers and one on New Road for travelling showmen.
This town needs both pieces of land for local businesses to prosper, grow and provide employment for our local people.
I am a great believer in providing local jobs for local people.
Winsford already has one of the highest unemployment statistics across the authority and high youth unemployment.
How does CWAC propose to replace these two important sites?
Do you not think that Winsford has already assisted Cheshire West and Chester Council with its obligation to provide sites, Clr Jones?
I noted that council leader Clr Jones doesn’t normally attend strategic planning meetings.
The committee was already aware of his views through the monthly executive meetings, therefore why was he allowed to speak and for more than the allocated time?
This is a CWAC proposal, a CWAC site and a CWAC planning process.
Is this then not dictatorial?
Maybe Clr Jones and his executive should consider the old Garden Centre, opposite Vicars Cross Golf Club, in Chester, as a gipsy and traveller site. After all, it has been an eyesore for many years.
Maybe the local authority could negotiate with the landowner, I am sure that site would be able to house many pitches and support your obligation to provide managed sites.
RON LIGHTFOOT Resident of Winsford for 63 Years
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