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Ewloe Gypsy site application to go to public inquiry

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a Travellers site in Ewloe will go to a public inquiry.

Campaigners celebrated outside Flintshire County Council HQ in January after proposals for the Gypsy camp off Magazine Lane were thrown out by councillors.

But the applicant, Martin Rooney, has appealed – and the decision will now be made by a Welsh Government inspector after a three-day hearing in July.

Dave Mackie, county councillor for Ewloe, told the Chronicle he was ‘totally confident’ the council’s decision to reject the plans would be upheld.

“I am confident because we have a very good case,” he said.

Community leaders vowed to fight the plans after angry residents formed Ewloe Green Action Group nearly two years ago and sent dozens of letters of objection to the council.

A public meeting held in summer 2010 was attended by more than 200 people, who opposed the proposals to station residential caravans on five pitches and create utility buildings and spaces for touring mobile homes.

Campaigners claimed the plans were out-of-keeping with the area and raised concerns about traffic, drainage and sewage.

They also maintained the ‘green barrier’ between Ewloe and Northop Hall should not be developed.

Ewloe councillor Alison Halford, chairwoman of the county council’s planning committee, said the chances of winning are ‘50-50’ – but claimed she ‘strongly objects’ to building in the open countryside.

A spokesman for the council said last week: “Mr Rooney’s appeal will be heard by way of a public inquiry for three days from July 25-27. The venue has not yet been fixed.”

He added: “The council is preparing its case.”

Matthew Green of Green Planning Solutions, on behalf of Mr Rooney, would not comment when contacted by the Chronicle about the appeal.