A PLANNING application for a new traveller transit site in Middlewich will be submitted next month, councillors have been told.

Cheshire East Council needs to open a transit site for temporary stops for gipsies and travellers, giving the opportunity to access health and education services.

It will also mean police have powers to direct travellers to the designated site from unauthorised encampments.

CEC wants this to be opened in Cledford Lane at the former Cledford Hall – but Middlewich councillors have a 'firm belief' it is the wrong site.

Cllr Jonathan Parry told last week's town council meeting: "Yes there needs to be one in Cheshire East, that is a demand, but it has got to be put at the right place and Cledford Lane is not the right place.

"It should be put in a place which is accessible and which would be suitable for housing because they are classing this as affordable housing – even though people have to bring their houses there.

"If it is classed as housing it should be on a site that is suitable for housing – and that site isn't."

The application will eventually go to CEC's strategic planning board for approval.

The site is expected to cost CEC £1.7 million, plus £500,000 from Homes England, and borough chiefs hope it could be open next January.

CEC previously approved plans for a transit site at Cledford Hall in 2015, but the permission lapsed three years later.

A decision to revive the project in 2019 sparked further objections from councillors and Fiona Bruce MP who insist the location is completely unsuitable.

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In a report presented to cabinet in 2019, Cllr Parry and Cllr Carol Bulman said Cledford Hall is too close to the Ansa site, has poor access to schools because of a lack of pavements in Cledford Lane, and would be too close to Middlewich’s settled traveller community – which could cause conflict.

But cabinet member Cllr Nick Mannion told councillors last December that the Cheshire and Warrington traveller team had identified it as an ideal location for such a facility.