PLANS for a west Cheshire Gipsy and traveller transit site have been put on hold due to 'tensions'.

A planning application had been submitted for a site at the former Foxfields Inn in Ellesmere Port, which would allow the police to direct groups to a suitable pitch, rather than setting up illegal encampments on public or private land.

Currently, unlike many local authorities, Cheshire West and Chester Council has no transit site, which is a permanent site for temporary use.

Cllr Angela Claydon, cabinet member for housing, said: “Following proposals from a cross-party members’ working group, cabinet agreed on the July 11 to develop a planning application for a transit site for Gipsy and travellers at Foxfields in Ellesmere Port.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to update cabinet on progress to date.

"As part of the application process we conducted a public consultation. The consultation process has raised a significant number of issues and concerns from the local community.

"It has also created local tensions, often built on misconceptions of the nature of the proposals, but which have created risks to good community relations in the local area.

“We have important statutory obligations to meet the housing needs of the Gipsy and traveller population.

"Community cohesion and the need to bring all members of our community together are also key responsibilities of this council. We have been listening very carefully to the concerns of the local community.

“In light of this I have asked council officers to put on hold all further progress with this application.

"The planning committee meeting planned for October 24 will not now take place.

“To move forward, July council has already established a process for the council to review its approach to the management of encampments, and asked People Scrutiny to lead a process of evaluation and best practice.

"I propose that we now progress that process, in a spirit of collaboration and transparency, and bring further reports to a future meeting of cabinet.

“I want to thank the residents and local businesses who engaged constructively in the recent consultation, and our officers for conducting a challenging process with commitment and professionalism.”