A TRAVELLER family has been told it cannot remain on a site in Wimboldsley permanently because it is set to be used for HS2.

Resident Brian Hannifin submitted a retrospective planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council over the summer for five permanent traveller pitches for his family on land off Nantwich Road, next to the West Coast railway line.

The plans submitted to CWAC suggest Mr Hannifin’s family had been living on the site since July 28, and the application would have given formal permission to use the site for accommodation.

But the council’s planning team has now refused the application because the land, which was previously used for a railway storage area, is safeguarded for HS2.

In a report explaining the decision, planning officer Edward Bannister said: “It is conceivable that the land will be compulsory purchased by December 2023 and the council currently has no reason to believe that the site will not be required.

“In short, the application conflicts with the Government's intention to build and operate a high speed railway in this location and it is not considered that the application site can realistically make a contribution to the council's five-year supply of deliverable gipsy and traveller sites on this basis.”

HS2 Ltd told CWAC that it could support the site being used for accommodation until December 2023, but Mr Bannister said that there is nothing in Mr Hannifin’s planning application ‘to suggest that the applicant would contemplate this’.

He added: “The very fact that the applicant owns the land in question would suggest that the proposal is not necessarily a ‘meanwhile use’.”

READ > Man wanted over shopping and burglary offences has disappeared

In the planning application, agent Larissa Jennings insisted the council does not have enough traveller sites in the borough.

She also told CWAC there are young children living on the site as well as an elderly relative, who would be ‘particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 outbreak’ and need a ‘settled base’.