When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Hyndburn Council sets up fund to fight legal battles with travellers
4:52pm Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
A SPECIAL fund is to be set up by Hyndburn Council to fight travellers’ legal bids for land.
The council is looking to set aside hundreds of thousands of pounds specifically to fight planning appeals over greenbelt land.
It said it has been under fire from illegal traveller site developments in the past, including a site at Sough Lane, in Oswaldtwistle, and Moss Lane, in Knuzden.
Temporary planning consent of three years was allowed on appeal, by a planning inspector, for the Sough Lane site, which expires in October 2013.
The council said it had to prepare for the camp to apply for permanent permission next year. If that was refused, it would need funds to apply an enforcement notice. A further appeal to the inspector could then be lodged.
At the Moss Lane site, travellers were ordered by inspectors to restore greenbelt land to its previous unspoiled state after consultants and a barrister represented the council at the appeal.
Despite some appeal successes however, the council said events at Dale Farm, in Essex, showed enforcement notices cannot always be upheld.
The council was therefore putting aside funds for ‘severe injunctions’.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “It’s important that these issues don’t affect our planning budget, and that the money is put aside to deal with these things as they arise. It could be we don’t need those funds, but it is best to be prepared.”
Opposition leader Peter Britcliffe said: “I think it is a good idea to plan to deal with the problem. These things can be very difficult and costly to tack- le. If it is made part of the budget, that will mean the money is there to deal with it.”
In a report on protect-ing the council’s finances from overspending, the suggestion is to create a special pot of money to make this possible.
The report from Hyndburn’s chief planning officer Simon Prideaux said: “In terms of planning enforcement and unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampments there remains a financial risk for the council.
“The council needs to be aware that there may be a need to put aside monies in the event of the need to serve injunctions, to respond tojudicial challenges, to employ barristers, or ultimately to take direct action.”