Plans for a 14-pitch Gypsy and Traveller family site to be built on the outskirts of Ellesmere Port have been rejected.

The applicants had sought to set up the site, bordered by Welsh Road, Heath Lane, fields and farmland in Childer Thornton, in what was described as a 'partly retrospective' change of use from an open field to a mixed use of equestrian, Gypsy and Traveller and part transit site.

In a planning statement, the applicant had sought planning permission for settled site accommodation that would provide suitable accommodation – static and trailer caravans – on behalf of 24 adults and 45 children, noting that some have medical conditions.

The planning statement added the most recent Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment had identified a need for additional pitches in the Cheshire West and Chester area, and the families had sought alternative site/pitch accommodation, but none were available in the borough or the wider North West region.

A council planning officer noted there had been over 200 objections to the proposal, with concerns including 'inappropriate development in the Green Belt', 'proliferation of pitches within this part of the borough', and the site did not have access to essential utilities, with 'inadequate arrangements for foul drainage'. Objectors also said the proposed site 'increases the fear of crime in the area'.

Three comments were made in support of the development, citing that many of the objections related to 'non-planning issues', nor were they supported by sufficient evidence. They added the proposed site had 'negligible value for wildlife' and 'would not dominate the nearest settlement or nearby new housing estates'.

The planning officer noted the application was "complicated by inconsistencies in the submitted documentation and situation on site", saying it was "not clear" what was being applied for, as drawings submitted suggested "very significant development" with 10 "very large" plots of 14 static caravans, 28 trailer caravans, 14 day rooms and "what appear to be 28 car parking spaces".

The officer added: "The site is currently the subject of a court injunction which prohibits the development from continuing having been commenced unlawfully without the benefit of planning permission."

It was noted that boundary fencing had been put up and "significant amounts of vegetation were removed" to facilitate the development.

The officer did acknowledge the plans "would assist in making up the shortfall in sites" and that children on the site would benefit from suitable access to GP, hospital and education facilities. The report added: "There is no evidence to support the assertion that the proposal would increase the fear of crime in the area."

But the officer added the development for the Green Belt area was "inappropriate", would cause "harmful visual impact" and "does not make safe provision for access to and from the site".

Cheshire West and Chester Council formally refused the plans this month.