COUNCIL chiefs have been asked to reconsider their decision to move forward with plans for a Gypsy and Traveller site in Rossfield Road.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s corporate scrutiny committee called on the executive to review the decision ‘in the light of widespread concern in relation to the consultation process’ at a meeting on Monday.
Committee chairman Cllr Eveleigh Moore Dutton said: “Members of the committee believed that there was sufficient cause for concern in the views expressed by the public and council members and those concerns are expressed in our recommendation to the executive.”
The recommendation, which includes a request to improve the council’s Gypsy and Traveller strategy, will be considered by the executive on February 8.
Proposals for the 15-pitch site on the council-owned depot have led to an outcry – with business owners on the Rossmore Industrial Estate questioning the estate’s suitability and threatening to close if plans are approved.
The council’s proposals for six sites across the borough – two of which, in Saughall and Neston have already been withdrawn – are designed to prevent successful planning appeals by the Gypsy and Traveller community on the basis that insufficient pitches have been provided.
Its overall approach was ‘called in’ by the council’s Labour opposition, which claims the Tory-controlled executive ‘failed in its duty’ to properly consult concerned residents.
The Labour group put forward 13 points, arguing information revealed at an executive meeting in November gave cause for concern about the process used to identify potential sites.
Members claimed a promised public consultation had not taken place and local councillors, residents and businesses had not been provided with sufficient information.
A report to the committee by Conservative portfolio holder Cllr Herbert Manley confirmed each planning application would be subject to public consultation.
He argued officials had attended various meetings in connection with the proposal at Rossfield Road, including a community forum and a meeting with local businesses.
Rossfield Road is the only site on the short list which is currently in use, his report disclosed.
The site is described as ‘as medium-term option for Gypsy and Traveller provision that is at least three years away from implementation’.