A FAIRGROUND community's plans to relocate to greenbelt land in Bolton have been rejected.

Showman, Henry Hill, asked Bolton Council for permission to pitch 30 mobile homes and trailers on land he owns next to Firwood Industrial Estate off Thicketford Road, Top o' th' Brow.

He said that despite paying council tax, showmen and their family currently live "in squalor" on rented land in the Mill Hill area.

But residents near Thicketford Road complained that plans for the community to move to the greenbelt should be refused, claiming the scheme would ruin land which attracts wildlife.

Bolton Council's planning committee upheld objections and turned-down the application.

Councillors expressed concerns about storing engineering units, which are used to run the fairground.

Ward councillor and committee member, Frank White, said: "People have a right to live in healthy conditions and the showmen have a cause for relocating but this is the wrong application for the wrong place.

"It's not just mobile homes on green belt, but the associated maintenance and storage, which is effectively a mini engineering business."

Cllr Nick Peel said: "The showmen's current accommodation conditions are unacceptable. As an authority we should do all we can to try and rectify that but there are more appropriate sites."

Mr Hill is responsible for the town centre fair in Cheadle Square and operates the carousel near Victoria Square. His grandfather, Albert, started the family business more than 100 years ago. The showmen have lived on their current site for nearly 30 years.

The Henry Hill Fairground community say they have been living with a poor quality of air, alongside industry including gas, paint and engineering works, and a railway line.

Mr Hill said: "There are a lot of showmen bitterly disappointed with the decision of the council. There was no consideration given by them and they have not accepted our just cause for the move.

"At the moment I am preparing an appeal against the decision.The council has said it will allocate a suitable site for us to move to. If it is good on its word then I will withdraw my appeal. But only if they are able to give me confirmation of what they propose."