WHITEGATE and Marton residents have won their battle against a proposed borough-wide traveller site being built in the village.

The proposed traveller site in Clay Lane has been removed from consideration by the Local Plan Working Group (LPWG) at a recent meeting at Cheshire West and Chester Council headquarters in Chester.

The council is required to have provision for travellers somewhere within the borough before it can take legal action to remove Gipsies and travellers from illegal encampment.

A company commissioned by the council drew up a list of 26 potential sites in 2016 including several in the Northwich and Winsford area, with the site in Marton identified as a favourite, but the list was subsequently scrapped due to various errors.

The Local Plan Working Group then took over the search for a suitable site with the Clay Lane site still included as a likely option.

The group has now removed all the sites from the list and says it will instead now explore brownfield sites in Ellesmere Port.

Cllr Mike Baynham, who represents the Winsford Over and Verdin Ward, which includes Whitegate and Marton, said: “Alongside the Whitegate and Marton Residents Action Group (RAG), I have been urging the LPWG and council at every opportunity over the last year to review these sites which are in the middle of our countryside as they would be unsustainable and against the newly delivered Whitegate Neighbourhood Plan.

"It’s been a long and drawn out process for all of us but opposition to these sites, which are totally unsuitable and run alongside the Whitegate way, has remained steadfast and has included a petition signed by 4,300 residents and visitors which was presented to council earlier this year.”

The next stage is for Cabinet to approve the recommendations of the Local Plan Working Group, with this being anticipated to take place in October.

However, the council still needs to find sites across the borough and that may mean that the Whitegate sites are not fully out of the picture but any new process is expected to take at least another two years before any new proposals come forward.

Keith Raynor, Whitegate Parish Council chairman, said: “We welcome the fact that Whitegate and Marton has been taken off the list and there are sites recommended now that are more suitable towards Ellesmere Port.

"That is where the majority of illegal encampment takes place, so why would you build a site in a place where travellers do not come to.

“I think the public reaction had a lot of influence on the decision, as well as the Neighbourhood Plan, which protects our countryside and in particular the Whitegate Way.

“We raised £60,000 in pledges from residents in order to fight the case legally. It is no secret that we were going to take it as far as we possibly could.”