A ‘SHAMBOLIC’ application to make a temporary travellers’ site into a permanent one – and to remove a condition allowing only family members to live there – has been rejected by a planning committee.

The site, in Dragons Lane in Moston, has been a temporary location for members of the Smith family and their caravans since 2014, with an initial five-year stay granted permission.

Rejecting plans to remove its temporary status, members of Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee granted an extension through to 2021 to allow for the borough to provide more alternative accommodation.

Confusion reigned during the meeting, with the applicant Martin Smith appealing for members to life the temporary permission altogether and make it a permanent site, while also asking them to allow anyone to stay so he could invite members of the community for short stays.

However, councillors thought they were discussing extending the permission and eventually agreed to do just that, leaving family restrictions in place. Mr Smith has the right to appeal against these conditions.

He said at the meeting: “The main reason why I want this permission is that we feel so insecure and we don’t feel established, because you won’t allow us the full permission.

“I have done everything by the law and all I ask for is to get on with my life.

“I would like to mix with the people and get to know them. I understand that when people see gipsies they think what the hell is going on here, but when they get to know me they know I just want to live a normal life.

“I have a lot of people in our community who visit one another and come on with caravans for a week or two. In my community that’s what we do for weddings or funerals.

“This restriction is not part of my culture and I don’t like refusing other people in the community.

“Unless you have been through it you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s terrible. It’s affected my whole family and it’s still dangling.”

The committee saw no justification in granting permanent permission to the site, noting that two similar previous applications had both been refused on the grounds of harming open countryside.

Cllr John Wray, ward member for Brereton Rural, and Cllr Alan Holder, chairman of Moston Parish Council, both spoke against the application, as did resident Andy Roscoe.

Mr Roscoe said: “There is no desire on the part of Mostonians to make people homeless and we hope that suitable site provision will be put forward in the near future.

“By removing the personal residential status, the original concerns that this will become a commercial site still apply.”

Mr Roscoe added that more than 13 per cent of the village’s housing supply is for traveller accommodation, compared to the CEC average of less than one per cent.

Committee member Cllr Janet Clowes said: “It’s a bit of a shambles, to be honest. I see no justifiable reason for removing the personal permission.

“I would be very happy to consider a condition to extend it – if you think that two years allows us to get that [supply in the] Local Plan operational that’s fine by me.”

The permission, which extends to seven members of the Smith family and their dependants, runs until February 13, 2021.