TRAVELLERS want to permanently set up camp near the entrance to Burrs Country Park.

Two families are seeking planning permission to base four caravans and an amenity building on land off Woodhill Road, north of The Garsdale Pub.

But the proposed site is within the green belt and more than 150 objections have already been lodged via Bury Council’s website.

However, a document in support of the application from agent Phil Brown claims there are grounds to approve the plans.

Stressing the “small scale” of the site and the “limited impact” it would have on the openness of the greenbelt, it adds: “The site is not prominently or obtrusively located. And with appropriate landscaping would be relatively well-screened and assimilated into the surrounding area - bearing in mind the government does not expect gypsy sites to be hidden from view or its occupants hidden from the wider community.”

The document also claims the council is currently failing to provide enough land for travellers’ sites, leading to one of the families having to live in “culturally inappropriate bricks and mortar accommodation.”

It adds that members of both families have serious health problems, including two children aged five and 10 with cystic fibrosis who need nebuliser treatment “virtually impossible if travelling in a touring caravan”.

Another girl is said to have epilepsy and cerebral palsy which would “obviously also benefit from living on a settled site with proper facilities.

The agent adds: “On balance I hope you will agree that the cumulative weight of the factors in favour of approval clearly outweigh harm to the green belt, and any other harm , and constitute the very special circumstances necessary to justify approval.”

But residents clearly take a different view, and have bombarded the council with online statements of opposition to the plans.

One, from Laura Wall, is typical of the responses. She said: “It is a wholly inappropriate development for this location which adjoins a children's play area and is on the very doorstep of Burrs Country Park. This is greenbelt land in a river valley location and must be preserved in its current condition. The proposed development would almost share an entrance with Stock Street Car Park, one of the main car parks for Burrs Country Park and will almost certainly lead to difficulties for those wishing to park in this well used car park.”

And Paul McMahon also took to the council website to express his opposition to the plans.

He said: “Both the children's playground and Burrs would suffer as a result of this development. If it goes ahead I'll approach Bet365 for odds on the length of time it takes before a child is attacked by one of the traveller's dogs and the council washes their hands of the situation.

“This isn't a case of NIMBY, I live in Nangreaves — It's just a terrible, ill thought idea. Why they aren't being asked to move into the already existing site near the tip is beyond me.”