The Bickerstaffe Record
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A nightmare come true

10.21.09 | Comment?

I’ve never used this blog to cover the ongoing issue about the traveller site on White Moss Lane, the road that runs parellel to the M58 just a few yards to the East of the Bickerstaffe boundary.  Nor have I addressed the complexities of the matter in the press, preferring to act ‘behind the scenes’ with correspondence and in the appropriate Council committee.

This is because I have always feared that anything I might say about the utterly reprehensible way the Tory council has handled the whole situation over the last three years might be misinterpreted as me being ‘anti-traveller’.

Last week, because I was asked questions by a journalist new into the area about the background to a new residents group that has been set up in opposition to the travellers’ site becoming ‘permanent’ (on which, more below), I set out the protracted history, even going as far as to dig out for him the appropriate Planning committee minutes, and commented along the lines that residents had every right to  be cross at the way the council had handled.

Imagine my horror therefore, when I was called by a resident after the publication of last week’s local paper to tell me that I apparently thought ‘residents had every right to take action against the travellers’.

So let me make it clear that I did not say that, and that I am not intending to lead a band of pitchfork and torchbearing villagers on an assault on the traveller camp.

I recognise that the report was probably just an awkwardly phrased, but such an odd-looking reported statement is of the type that opposition politicos might happily file away for later use when the context has been forgotten.  With this in mind, I have come over all serious with the paper and asked for a clarification/retraction in this week’s paper – I’m not too fussed about an apology – and if I don’t get one I will need to go to the Press Complaints Commission.

I’ll give a full report on the main issues around the need for a permanent traveller site, and the illegitimate way in which the council is seeking to have it placed in an arguably unsuitable and unhealthy location, later on today.

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