COUNCIL chiefs are being warned that Cledford Hall is simply not the right place for a transit site for gypsies and travellers.

Cheshire East Council is desperate to open a transit site in the borough to stop unauthorised encampments from springing up.

It has been considering reviving plans to use Cledford Hall as a transit site – and a new draft version of a key planning document has ringfenced the site for 10 transit pitches.

Ahead of a special cabinet meeting where those plans will hit the spotlight, Labour Cllr Jonathan Parry is warning there are ‘serious flaws’ in the case for using Cledford Hall as a transit site.

He said: “There is definitely a need for a transit site in Cheshire East – I fully back that.

Winsford Guardian:

“But it must be in the correct location. Cledford Lane is not it.”

Plans for a transit site at Cledford Hall were fiercely opposed before they were granted permission in 2015 – with Middlewich residents, councillors and Fiona Bruce MP all lodging objections.

The buildings on the site were then demolished, but permission for the transit site expired last year, and CEC has since been considering whether it is viable for the project to be revived.

Next Tuesday, cabinet is expected to confirm that public consultation can begin on August 19 for the second part of CEC’s local plan, formally known as the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document.

The document includes Cledford Hall as a site for 10 transit pitches, and CEC is being urged to make sure it listens to the voice of Middlewich residents during consultation – including the settled traveller community.

Cllr Parry said: “The original consultation [for Cledford Hall] – and I use that term loosely – is around four years old, which in planning terms should make the arguments null and void.

Winsford Guardian:

The Ansa site in Cledford Lane

“A lot has changed in Middlewich since then – we now have an Ansa site to contend with, and Cledford Lane is destined to become a link road for the eastern bypass which now has planning permission.”

The recently-elected councillor also highlights road safety issues in the area – with no pavements and a high number of lorry movements, particularly accessing the Ansa site in Cledford Lane – while there are no sewage lines at the site, meaning the council would have to pay for another solution.

Cllr Parry also claims that the site goes against good practice guidance previously published by Government – and believes that the nearby settled traveller community does not want the transit site at Cledford Hall.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, CEC’s Labour leader, told cabinet earlier this month that securing a transit site for the borough is a top priority for the new administration following a string of unauthorised encampments earlier this summer.

Winsford Guardian:

“We have had 10 years as a council to get a transit site set up and it is incredible that we do not have one,” he said.

“I am determined that we should have a transit site. It’s not a quick process or a cheap process to provide one and it will be unpopular wherever you site it – but I am determined that we will do it.”

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Meanwhile, the document also outlines proposals for 53 permanent pitches – including 24 at Three Oakes, Booth Lane, four at Meadowview, Moston, and two at Thimswarra Farm, Moston.