COUNTY councillors will meet next week to debate proposals to cease ownership of three traveller sites.

The sites, including the one at Whinney Hill in Altham, have pitches which are paid for by residents.

The sites are currently owned by Lancashire County Council but the local authority does not have a legal requirement to keep them.

At a full council meeting in February, it was proposed to declare the sites surplus to the county council’s needs, generating a saving of £131,000 relating to the maintenance and running costs.

In May, proposals were made to sell them off but on the condition they remain traveller sites, and a subsequent consultation was launched.

A total of 191 questionnaires were completed and found 80 per cent disagreed with the proposals.

Residents consider the sites to be their home and have lived there for numerous years, in many cases all their lives, with groups of families living on site and children attending local schools.

Some individuals raised concerns and suggestions as they felt frightened and upset at what may happen if the sites are sold.

The general view from the consultation was that LCC should retain the sites, and that selling the site could result in residents losing their homes, families being split up and that a new landlord could have a negative impact.

Those responding also raised concerns that they will become homeless or forced to live on the road.

Suggestions on what to do differently included alternative and better management of the sites and to increase rents.

Gary Pearse, head of estates at LCC, said: “The county council has undertaken a comprehensive consultation on these proposals.

“This has involved staff visiting sites on a number of occasions to advise individual residents on the proposal and consultation process, as well as making the questionnaire available in local libraries and the council’s website.

“The results of the consultation will now be considered by members of the cabinet.”

Depending on the outcome of the cabinet meeting on September 5, any proposed transfers would be subject to a condition that the sites could only be used as traveller sites.

The other sites in question are at Mellishaw Park in Morecambe and Leighton Street in Preston.