A WOMAN at the heart of a planning battle with Cheshire East Council says her family has nowhere else to go, as a public inquiry dealing with a planning application appeal continued.

The appeal relates to an application for retrospective planning permission applied for by Michael Maloney for three caravan pitches, but that was rejected by the council in December 2020.

Day two of the hearing on Wednesday, March 2, saw Sheila Maloney, wife of Michael, give evidence before planning inspector Roy Merrett.

She told the hearing how the family had ended up living on the land just off Broadoak Lane in Mobberley.

"We used to live in Essex. We had a lovely, normal life.

"Michael got a call one day to say his father only had three months to live, so we went to stay with them.

"While we were there another family from the Travelling community burnt our home down.

"My husband had bought the land here three years ago as an investment for our children.

"But we simply had nowhere else to go."

Despite health concerns about the noise being created by planes landing and taking off from nearby Manchester Airport, Mrs Maloney said Travellers were 'reared up with noise'.

She said: "I come from a family of 12. We’re used to noise. I’m a full-time nurse all day.

"I never have time to notice the noise. It doesn’t bother me.

"When you're a Traveller, you are reared up with noise. You’re used to it."

When cross-examined by council lawyer Matthew Henderson, Mrs Maloney was asked why the family couldn't move to a site elsewhere.

“We can’t go back to Essex because the home we had was burnt to the ground and and would take years to repair.

“I wouldn’t take my kids back there.

"The family that did it know that address. We were left with nothing."

Mrs Maloney added how the couple's four children were all in school and that the family were registered with local doctors and dentists in the area.

Further evidence was provided by planning expert Alison Heine, who represents the family.

She told the hearing how she was 'staggered' to be told by Matthew Henderson during proceedings that Cheshire East might have land available for sale in Coppenhall Moss.

She said: "Nobody from the council has ever approached my client and said there was an opportunity to purchase land.

"I’m staggered to be told today that you are prepared to sell this land.

"It’s very easy for you to tell this inspector they should go elsewhere.

"That's what all local authorities seem to do with Travellers.

"It’s quite shameful that this is the approach that has been taken. I don’t think you’re trying to help this family.

"In fact, you’re being very difficult. I would be very upset if you are not willing to do that."

Mr Henderson clarified that he had only mentioned the potential of that land being made available to demonstrate that Mr Maloney hadn't even looked at alternative options.

Ms Heine added: "On this site, the children are in school and they have access to doctors.

"There is no comparison to the dangers posed by a life living on the roadside.

"They are very keen for their children to get the education they didn’t."

The inquiry continues.