A PUBLIC inquiry into a highly controversial application for a traveller site will get under way today.
The long-running plans for five pitches on Magazine Lane, Ewloe, have sparked great opposition from nearby residents.
Since the plans were first lodged in 2010, residents and traders have expressed strong concerns about the location of the plans, saying it was in open countryside on designated green barrier land separating the villages of Northop Hall and Ewloe.
Campaigners also said they feared any development would increase traffic leading to the site and access would be via the narrow single track Green Lane, which had traffic problems and poor visibility.
Ewloe councillor Dave Mackie, who is against the plans, said he would attend the public inquiry at County Hall, which is due to last for three days.
He said: “I have always said I want to keep the green barrier, I want to keep development out of the green barrier. I consider it so important we do have these areas and so do many people who I represent.
“It is especially important for people who have been here a long time – I remember I spoke to a family who had been brought up here and they were saying they can’t believe all the developments there has been.”
This is the second public inquiry into the plans, with the first having been thrown out in 2012.
Applicant Martin Rooney’s first application was rejected by Flintshire Council in 2011 and after the first public inquiry, a second application was rejected last May.
Mr Rooney appealed against that decision in October and his plans will now be considered at hearings starting today.
At a meeting of Flintshire Council’s planning committee in January, planning bosses conceded refusing the application on levels of pollution by road traffic from the A55 should be withdrawn.
But further reasons for refusal, including road noise from the busy A55, the fact the proposal is directly below an electricity line and that it would have an impact on the green barrier, would still be retained.
Cllr Mackie added: “This is just not the right place.
“We have to provide this accommodation but it is in the wrong place.
“Flintshire Council are doing so much already to provide this kind of accommodation.”
Campaigners formed Ewloe Green Action Group to fight the application, public meetings were held and as many as 275 letters of objection were submitted to the council against the original plans.
Mr Rooney’s agent, Green Planning Solutions, declined to comment.