Travellers on land at Barony Park, Nantwich

A petition has been launched calling on Cheshire East Council chiefs to ditch plans to open a transit site for gypsies and travellers at Cledford Hall.

Cllr Jonathan Parry, Labour Cheshire East Council member for Middlewich, launched the petition online on Tuesday – and it has had more than 100 signatures so far.

It comes as the council gears up to launch consultation the second part of its local plan, formally known as the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD), which sets aside Cledford Hall for 10 transit pitches.

The petition says: “Travellers sites should not be located next to waste sites. CEC can only have one or the other.

“Cledford Lane is not a safe route to schools and other amenities. Employment land should be used to bring jobs and prosperity to the area, not be given up for residential use.

“Middlewich already has a significant settled traveller population, integrated into the community, we do not want anything that could cause a rise in tensions between communities.

“The Government rightly states that everyone should have the opportunity of a decent place to live, which is a key element of any thriving and sustainable community, and that is equally true for travellers. So we are calling on CEC to find a site that’s right.”

Council chiefs confirmed they were considering reviving their original plans for the site earlier this summer following a string of unauthorised encampments across the borough – including at Barony Park, in Nantwich, which has had 10 incursions this year.

Cledford Hall received planning permission for a transit site in 2015, but the plans failed to materialise before time ran out last year.

The plans were fiercely contested the first time around – with residents, councillors and Fiona Bruce MP all lodging objections.

Cllr Parry and Cllr Carol Bulman handed a report to cabinet last week urging it to consider other sites.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that consultation on the SADPD will take place from Monday, August 19, with the council set to confirm the start date later this week.

A public meeting to discuss the Cledford Hall transit site proposal is being held at Middlewich Methodist Church, in Booth Lane, from 7.30pm on Wednesday, August 21.

Paper copies of the petition will also be made available to sign at the residents’ meeting, and at various locations across town.

Meanwhile, CEC has earmarked 53 permanent gypsy and traveller pitches across the borough in the document:

24 pitches at Three Oakes, Booth Lane, Middlewich
Eight pitches on land east of Railway Cottages, Nantwich
Eight pitches on land at New Start Park, Wettenhall Road, Nantwich
Seven pitches on land at Coppenhall Moss, Crewe
Two pitches at Thimswarra Farm, Moston
Four pitches at Meadowview, Moston
Two designated sites for travelling showmen are also earmarked – one with 10 plots at Firs Farm, Brereton, and one with three plots on the lorry park, off Mobberley Road, Knutsford.

CEC was recently criticised by the Planning Inspectorate for failing to have enough permanent provision for gypsies and travellers when it lost a planning appeal over four pitches in Moston.

The document also proposes smaller housing and employment land allocations in other towns and villages across the borough, with the aim of preventing speculative developments.

Independent Cllr Toni Fox, cabinet member for planning, said: “Completion of the site allocations plan is an important step towards securing a strong and resilient basis for planning in Cheshire East, including maintaining a five-year supply of housing land.

“We want to be able to review our local plan in future from a position of strength – without risking a planning free-for all.”

The SADPD consultation will last for six weeks.

CEC’s cabinet will then consider the results and decide whether the proposals should be amended – and if so, another round of consultation would take place.

Once the consultation goes live it will be available online at

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