Anger over proposed traveller site

A site for travellers has been identified
A site for travellers has been identified

A proposed site for a permanent travellers site in Burnley has caused uproar among residents.

Burnley Borough Council's contentious Local Plan has identified a former gasworks site in Oswald Street, Stoneyholme, to house five pitches for the gypsy and traveller community.

Residents and business people of Stoneyholme at the proposed site

Residents and business people of Stoneyholme at the proposed site

But the plan, which will be discussed by the full council on Wednesday evening, has caused consternation among residents in the area who say it is situated too close to Stoneyholme Primary School.

Early drafts of the plan had identified three sites for travellers, but this has now been whittled down to Oswald Street, which forms part of the Lancashire Ecological Network for Woodland and Grassland and lies to the west of a Biological Heritage Site.

Restaurant owner Ibby Ali, who grew up in the area, has prepared a petition with friend Abdul Salek opposing the plans. It has already garnered more than 300 signatures.

Mr Ali said: "We appreciate that the council has been told by the government that it has to provide sites for travellers, but we do not feel that Oswald Street is appropriate.

"For one thing it is situated right next to a primary school. We are worried about the cleanliness aspect, as well as any potential anti-social behaviour that may arise from the site.

"The other issue is that this land used to be a gasworks. We feel it is not suitable for human habitation and there would have to be a lot of work done to make it so."

Mr Ali added that residents in Stoneyholme were also angry because they feel they have not been consulted about the site. A group of neighbours plan to attend tomorrow's meeting at Burnley Town Hall.

The Local Plan, which also sets out where homes and industrial sites could be built in the coming years, is still in its early stages.

In May 2012, Burnley and Pendle Borough Councils commissioned the Housing and Urban Studies Unit at the University of Salford to produce a Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment.

Lancashire County Council highway engineers have expressed concerns in response to previous planning applications on Oswald Street about the additional traffic generated at the junction onto Brougham Street, and advised that this and Daneshouse Road have safety issues and problems with "rat running" traffic.

If approved by councillors at Wednesday's meeting, there will then be a six week consultation period for final representations from Wednesday, April 12th up to and including Friday, May 26th.