Steven Woodhouse wrote to our Local Member of Parliament, The Right Honourable Gordon Marsden, the following:-
Dear Mr. Marsden,
I am currently chairman of the soon to be designated Marton Moss Neighbourhood Forum. I have been in extensive communication with Blackpool Council, who have been most helpful in setting this Forum up. However it is turning into something entirely different from the original plan of writing a Neighbourhood Plan for inclusion in the Local Plan. There are a strong views being expressed in the way the council handles Traveller and showman sites in the area. The Forum is in danger of becoming a one issue meeting place, where Angry residents come to voice their frustrations with the Council and the travellers, this is not what is intended!
We received, read and discussed the Draft Plan part 2 for Blackpool and welcomed the prospect of it being implemented as it appeared! to promise much of what we want. Work has been done to make part of the area a Conservation Area and this should soon be in force, with one proviso, which I do not understand. At a meeting with Head of Planning and Conservation at my house we asked for the whole of the Forum Area to be a Conservation Area but were only given the area south of progress Way when we asked for Stockydale and Chapel Road areas we were told they were too built up, but in fact the council left out of the Forum Area the new estates. This area is largely open fields and old market gardens which the residents want to keep.
In the Local Plan part 2, sites for the travellers and showman were to be built at Faraday Way. What is actually happening is travellers and showpeople are buying agricultural land and setting up camp with multiple caravans and commercial vehicles, this happens overnight at weekends and we wake up to the established site. They then apply for retrospective planning which is nearly always granted, this removes the residents ability to object and gather facts as is their basic right. It also means Blackpool does not have to provide an expensive site. The problem is it appears to be a two tier system, if one of the residents applies for extensions or building work in the proper way there is a lot of nit picking about every detail.
There appears to be one law for one set of people and one for the other.
Our plans for the Moss were to try to get the place looking better, and keep the character of the place as was stated in the conservation application, and the Local Plan.
But this situation shows despite what is said to our face, that the Council are weak when it comes to applying the rules to people who just do as they please, this has set a precedent and we have now heard of 2 other sites which are planned. These travellers are commercial enterprises with commercial vehicles now setting up shop in rural residential lanes and streets.
I ask for a meeting to discuss this and your support in asking planning to stick to their own set rules and not grant planning to people who do not ask in the proper way.
Yours in anticipation.