Travelling show family’s new Oswestry base approved

A travelling show family has been granted permission to relocate to a vacant industrial estate plot after a five-year search for a permanent base.

The land off Maesbury Road in Oswestry. Photo: Google
The land off Maesbury Road in Oswestry. Photo: Google

The Stokes family has occupied the grounds of the former Ifton Heath Primary School in St Martin’s since it was forced to leave the former livestock market site in Oswestry in 2015.

The school site only was only ever intended to be a temporary site while a permanent base for the family was found.

Shropshire Council’s North Planning Committee has now granted permission for the change of use of a former recycling centre on the Maesbury Road Industrial Estate in Oswestry for the family to make their home.

Plans show there will be five static caravans and space for five touring caravans as well as equipment storage and maintenance.

The council's illustration of where the land is

The committee heard the family, which includes Mr Stokes, his wife, brother, two sons and their families, spent most of their time on the road with their fairground and therefore the equipment and touring caravans would not always be on the site.

Planning officer Philip Mullineux said there had been 15 objections from members of the public to the application, but none from statutory consultees or the town council.

A report considered by members said the site was well screened and the proposed new use would not damage the character of the area, nor would the surrounding businesses have a detrimental impact on the lives of the family who would be living there.

It added: “The unmet need for a site for travelling show people within Shropshire also needs to be given weight in the determination of this application.”

Councillor Joyce Barrow said it was extremely difficult to find suitable sites for travelling show people but that this seemed to be a perfect location.

She said: “This particular site seems absolutely ideal. It is very close to the highway which is one of the things that was being sought.

“I have been contacted by a couple of businesses which are adjacent to this particular site with their concerns and I think they are concerns which anyone would have.

“But I feel the report mitigates all these things. I think screening will mitigate concerns about how the site will look, but I have to say having driven many times past the site that the Stokes family are on in St Martin’s that it is always immaculate. It is extremely tidy, nothing is out of place.

“The Stokes family are a well-known Oswestry family, they have an excellent reputation. I think this is a very good site for them to be relocated to.”

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