Travelling show family allowed to stay on former school site near Oswestry
A travelling showman and his family have been granted permission to remain on the site of a former school for up to a year.
The Stokes family has travelled Britain with its fun fair for generations and until recently had a base on land at the Smithfield livestock market in Oswestry.
When the Smithfield was re-developed the family lost the home it returned to when not taking its funfair on the road and it was feared that the 100-year tradition of being travelling showmen would come to an end.
After negotiations Shropshire Council allowed the family to move onto the car park and playground of the old Ifton Primary School at St Martins.
The council's north planning committee extended that permission for 12 months for six caravans at a meeting yesterday.
Councillor Steve Davenport said that the extension had the support of local people and the parish council.
"The family are happy in the village and they have been welcomed," he said. Members of the committee were told that the site was lived on by Alan Stokes and his wife, two brothers and two sons.
Councillor Gerald Dakin said that while he was happy to agree to the 12-month extension, he would not like to see permission extended 'ad infinitum'.
"I would encourage our officers to use due diligence to find a new site as soon as possible," he said.
There was a call from Councillor Vince Hunt for the council to consider allowing the family to remain at St Martins permanently.
"It seems there is support for the family from the parish council and from residents," he said.
"Why can't the council consider annexing a part of the site off for the Stokes family? They are welcome in the village so why can't they stay there?"
The committee was told that a site had been found near Oswestry but there had been objections and planning permission had not been granted.
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