From the Crewe Guardian
CAMPAIGNERS in Crewe are celebrating after controversial plans for a Gypsy and Traveller site look set to be thrown out.
Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have voted to put forward a motion to withdraw the application for the Parkers Road site at the next council meeting on April 19.
The action follows changes in the Government’s planning policy which gives greater scope for local authorities to carry out their own assessments of the housing needs of Gypsies and Travellers and plan accordingly.
Clr Derek Bebbington, who led the vote, said: “I believe these changes in policy have been brought about because of the excellent campaign and hard work of the action group Crewe Against Traveller Sites (CATS), who with the support of Edward Timpson and myself, have been continuously pressuring the council, and the Government, to have the planning application withdrawn or the policy changed.
“In that time, more than 5,000 thousand people signed a petition of protest against this application. I am told that so many people have written to the council objecting to the site, they had to set a new department just to deal with the correspondence.”
The site has attracted huge opposition from the start. In December, campaign group CATS marched on Downing Street to deliver a petition signed by 5,400 angry residents.
Clr Bebbington added: “Both CATS and the people who supported the campaign should be proud of what they achieved and are to be congratulated.”
Cheshire East Council says it is now looking in detail at the Government’s new planning policy for Traveller sites and intends to study the document thoroughly before making any future decisions on provision in the borough.
Clr Rachel Bailey, cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: “This new planning policy is good news and gives us the opportunity to assess our own needs.”
The new planning policy also encourages earlier and more effective engagement with the Gypsy and Traveller community around their accommodation needs.
Clr Jamie Macrae, cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, added: “We have been lobbying the Government for some time on the need to allow local authorities determine what provision is needed for Gypsies and Travellers. This is what this new planning policy recommends.”