Mark Menzies MP contacts Secretary of State over traveller site decision

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has slammed a decision by the Planning Inspectorate to allow travellers to remain on an illegal site near Staining.

The group moved onto the land off Fairfield Road, Hardhorn, in November 2009 and Fylde Council has since been involved in a protracted legal process to return the site to its original condition after rejecting their subsequent planning application for a change-of-use for the agricultural land.

After exhausting all options to remain on site following a seven-year campaign, the group submitted a planning application for a smaller scheme of six pitches and up to 20 caravans.

That proposal was thrown out by Fylde Council but has now been approved following a public inquiry.

Mr Menzies said: “I am appalled by this decision which sends out a clear message that anyone can develop a site illegally and be given permission to remain should they play the system for long enough.

“I am extremely angry that the residents neighbouring this site have been treated so poorly by an organisation which purports to represent the Government I support.

“While this application may be for a smaller site than initially proposed, this remains an inappropriate location for this development, which goes against important policies put in place to protect the countryside and raises significant highways issues.

“Over the last seven years, I have on numerous occasions praised the residents for the patience they have shown while Fylde Council has been involved in a lengthy and expensive legal battle with the applicants. Throughout this process I have been assured that it would simply be a matter of time until this was resolved and the law was on their side. It now appears that was a lie.

“I have urged Fylde Council to use every resource at its disposal to fight this decision and have today written to the Secretary of State to demand he calls in this decision for further examination as I believe there are points in the inspectors statement which are inaccurate and fail to take into account many of the underlying issues at this site.”

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