A CONTROVERSIALl Gipsy and Traveller transit site which has been earmarked for Cledford Lane in Middlewich for the past four years, has now been thrown into doubt.

Cheshire East Council revealed its plans to build the large transit site in Cledford Lane in 2014.

The plans were to build nine pitches, a permanent warden’s pitch and to convert English Heritage listed buildings, Cledford Hall barns, into wash facilities.

The plans were given approval in April 2015 despite strong objections from Middlewich ward councillors Mike Parsons and Paul Edwards, as well as Congleton MP Fiona Bruce and a large group of Middlewich residents.

The planning permission was subject to work being started within three years and with work yet to start on the site, the permission to build on the land has now lapsed.

Cheshire East Council will therefore have to re-submit its application and go through the planning procedures once again if the site is to be built.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “The planning permission for a transit site for Gypsies and Travellers at Cledford Lane, Middlewich, expired on May 5. Development of the site was delayed because of the need to address dilapidated buildings on the site – these are the subject of a separate planning approval dated October 9, 2017, for the demolition of the structures.

“The next step will be to secure the demolition of these buildings in line with the planning approval – and then to consider further options for the site.”

Middlewich Town Council member, Cllr Jonathan Parry, thinks that Cheshire East Council may drop the plans for the site, but says if a new application is submitted, it gives the Middlewich community a second chance to fight against it.

Cllr Parry said: “The amount of money and resources that have been wasted is unbelievable - simply by letting the time run out time run out on this and now having to reapply for the planning permission. Those listed buildings have been there since day one, so that excuse doesn’t stack up. It’s just a comedy of errors from Cheshire East Council once again.

“But I’m pleased that the planning permission has run out because I represent the residents of Middlewich and they did want this transit site there.

“I’m not against transit sites but they have to be in the right place and this one just isn’t. There are plenty of other suitable places that don’t involve the demolition of two listed buildings for a start.

“I hope they don’t reapply because the town doesn’t want it. I tend to think that they’re not going to go ahead with it now, but you never know.

“I have said since first being elected that I’m taking my lead from the public and if the people of Middlewich don’t want it then I will represent their views and I will campaign against it. So if and when this goes to back to a planning committee, I will be campaigning to stop the council from putting this transit site in Cledford Lane.”