PLANNING chiefs have approved retrospective proposals for a caravan site in Grappenhall.

Thomas Smith’s application requesting permanent consent for a gipsy caravan site for six static caravans with storage sheds at Grappenhall Lodge, on Cartridge Lane, came before the development management committee on Wednesday.

The development is located on land to the south of Cartridge Lane, on the site of the now demolished Grappenhall Lodge.

Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council had objected as it believed it constitutes inappropriate development in the green belt.

The site has been occupied since November 2007 as a gipsy caravan site, with temporary status approved by the secretary of state on appeal in July 2014.

However, temporary permission has expired, meaning the development has been unauthorised.

But planning officers said the principle of the scheme was considered to be acceptable, given that there are very special circumstances surrounding the provision of no alternative gipsy or traveller sites.

However, committee member Cllr Bob Barr (LD – Lymm North and Thelwall) labelled the application and others that are similar as ‘very, very difficult’.

He said the travelling community ‘naturally opt’ for green belt land and residents in the area often have ‘unjustified fears’ of what the impact of the site will be.

“I don’t feel inclined to allow this step, step, stepwise way of proceeding inappropriate development to go through,” he said.

“I am really very disappointed by this.”

Fellow committee member Cllr Judith Wheeler (LD – Appleton) told members there is a ‘perception’ that it is ‘very unfair that travellers can build in the green belt’.

“This lack of a coherent policy is just not a good model for community cohesion,” she added.

“As a council, we just haven’t addressed this problem.

“We all feel conflicted, I think.”

A proposal to refuse the application on the grounds of inappropriate development in the green belt did not get enough support.

Shortly after, the application was approved, subject to conditions.