JUBILANT campaigners cheered and applauded as Cheshire East Council announced it was scrapping plans to set up a Gypsy site on Parkers Road.
Applause rang out from the public gallery at the full council meeting as Conservative group leader Michael Jones announced to the chamber: “I’m pleased to say we will remove the planning application for Parkers Road.”
He continued: “We have listened to your campaign and we have now got a way forward. We will work hard to find sites for all our Gypsy and Traveller needs but in a different way.”
Cllr David Newton (Lab) said he could not understand why the council had not voted in favour of scrapping the application at the last council meeting when the proposal had been put forward by himself and Cllr Peggy Martin.
“It is not an appropriate site and never was,” said Cllr Newton.
Cllr Derek Hough (Lib Dem) said he feared scrapping plans for the site would lead to more ‘illegal’ encampments.
“When I first saw this motion (to withdraw the application) I was extremely disappointed,” said Cllr Hough.
He added: “I’m aware everybody campaigned very hard but it’s not difficult to work up a depth of feeling against this community so my initial reaction is very disappointed. I think we are letting down a section of our community and not giving them any help at all. I think they will continue to occupy illegal sites. I don’t think this is the way I would like the situation to be addressed.”
Cllr Paul Edwards (Middlewich First) agreed: “We’re going to get many more of these unauthorised sites until we get a policy in place.”
Cllr Chris Thorley (Lab) said: “Seven thousand people in Coppenhall East and West aren’t disappointed. They’re highly delighted with this. This is an application for a site that should never have taken place in the first place. I congratulate everyone that has taken part in fighting this application. Well done all of you.”
At this the chamber, made up mainly of Crewe Against Travellers Sites supporters, erupted in applause again.
Cllr Michael Jones told them: “This is a big effort by you. Also Cllr Derek Bebbington worked very hard on this.”
The majority of councillors voted in favour of withdrawing the application. Three, including Cllr Hough, abstained.