Traveller family’s plans for new site in Wakefield set to get thumbs down from Leeds

Location of proposed site in red

Plans by a family of travellers to establish a new permanent site in Wakefield by the M62 look set to get the thumbs down this week from councillors in neighbouring Leeds.

Councillors on Leeds City Council’s plans panel (East) are going to be discussing the proposal to turn grazing land close to the border with Leeds into a privately-run site with 10 residential pitches at a meeting on Thursday 22nd March.

And the recommendation from the council’s planning department is that Leeds objects to the scheme, which would affect a strip of land next to the motorway at Castle Gate. See map here.

Leeds planning officers are recommending the following:

“That objections be raised on the grounds that the proposal would be contrary to Green Belt policy and no compelling case has been made to justify the setting aside of this policy. Concerns be raised in respect of the matter of residential amenity due to siting very close to the M62 motorway, and the likely excessive noise intrusion and poor air quality.”

The owners of the land, who come from a family of English Romany Gypsies, told the Yorkshire Evening Post last month that they believe the new privately-run site would help alleviate the situation with illegal camps.

Five out of six local councillors in neighbouring Leeds wards (Rothwell and Ardsley and Robin Hood) have already come out against the plans, according to a Leeds council report that’s going to be discussed at Thursday’s meeting.  Lib-Dem group leader Stewart Golton is the only local councillor not quoted as objecting.

Leeds City Council is meanwhile looking at some 300 potential sites to fulfil a commitment to set up 12 new travellers’ pitches in the city, as part of its efforts to reduce unauthorised encampments. Details of which sites are being looked at will only be released once the list has been whittled down, council leaders decided last December.

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