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Storm erupts over traveller 'bunker' bid at Glover Street, St Helens
3:00pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
NEIGHBOURS have reacted angrily over plans to construct a travellers’ site close to their homes.
Plans have been submitted to the council to erect two static homes along with an amenity and storage building plus boundary fencing and gates on Glover Street, close to the town centre.
The plans have been met with fury by residents, who claim they will have a negative impact on the area.
Letters of protest have been sent to the town hall detailing their concerns.
One stated: “The dramatic drop in house prices (which has been confirmed by a local estate agent) and this ‘gipsy’ site would make the houses (which we have worked hard for) unsellable.”
Some people are angry that work on the site appears to have already started despite the fact that no decision has been reached.
Another neighbour said: “I notice that high, solid steel gates have been installed on the site with the family name of the applicant displayed in large letters. This gives the site the appearance almost of a bunker, and is not in keeping with any of the local street scene.
“The gates, fencing and services installation have been completed without approval in the hope that this will be granted.
“The installation of such high fences and an armoured solid steel gate does not provide much assurance to the local community.”
Other people living nearby raised further concerns.
One said: “I feel strongly against such a plan and feel that with the recent troubles in Parr between two traveller families I do not wish to live in a war zone here.”
The council’s design and access statement states: “The government’s overarching aim is to ensure fair and equal treatment for travellers, in a way that facilitates the traditional and nomadic way of life of travellers while respecting the interests of the settled community.”
Describing the personal circumstances of the applicant, who bought the site at auction, the statement adds: “His family make-up is himself, his wife and seven children, whose ages range from two to 16. Three of the children are of pre-school age. Two attend school in the borough, whilst two have left full-time education.
“Historically, the applicant had many connections with the St Helens travelling community, and has spent the past 13 years in and around the borough.
“Ten of those were spent at the side of the road on illegal encampments. For the stability of his family and the pressures of being moved from one unauthorised site to the other, he has been forced into rented housing accommodation in the borough, which is far from being suitable, giving the families traditional home environment.”
Public consultation on the proposals ends on Monday.