POLICE have been called in to investigate after hoax planning notices were erected in Lymm advertising proposals for a permanent travellers facility on land at Sow Brook in the village.
The official-looking planning documents had been pinned to three fences stating:
Permitted Planning Permission (Major) Confirmed Development of a permanent Travellers facility Including widened access via Lymmhay Lane had standing for 200 mobile homes/caravans, facilities buildings.
Parking facilities landscaping and amenity areas of associated infrastructure, all other details (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) Project to begin April 1 2021.
Cllr Ian Marks said, “My first phone call from a resident came when I had barely finished breakfast. Residents were greatly alarmed by the planning notices which on face value looked genuine. “As soon as I could, I went down and took a photo which I forwarded to the Planning Manager and the Police. The Council confirmed my strong suspicions that it was a hoax and asked I could help by getting the three notices taken down as soon as possible. I went down immediately and found one sign had already been removed, another resident was on his way to remove a second one, leaving just one for me to remove.
“On closer inspection, the planning notice contained a reference number with only 8 digits instead of 9, a website address with a missing letter in ‘warrington’ and most telling of all a start date for the project of 1 April!
“Whoever put the notices up, achieved the desired effect of worrying a lot of residents and generating a lot of social media posts. One resident said that it had provided a bit of excitement at a time of impending lockdown on a dreary weather day. This incident followed travellers recently taking residence for a few days at the top of Cherry Lane.”
Cllr Kath Buckley said she had also been contacted by concerned local residents.
At September’s Full Council she had put a question to leader of the council Russ Bowden, seeking an update on a proposed venue for a travellers site following ongoing issues throughout the summer.
She was told that when a potential site had been identified a report would be presented to the Cabinet for approval, but there was no time frame for this.
“So as nothing has gone to Cabinet nor is likely to for the foreseeable future and as Lymm Parish Council know nothing about this at planning level it is clearly a hoax.”
A Warrington Borough Council spokesperson said “We received reports relating to these notices early yesterday afternoon as did local councillors.
We can confirm that it was a hoax and the notices have now been removed and the police informed.”