'Here we are again': Eight year-long traveller's site saga back in the spotlight

Planning permission for a traveller's site on green belt land has been rejected yet again.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 9:40 am
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 9:41 am

Thomas and Elizabeth Spaven, who own a plot at Carr Gate, close to the M62, had applied for approval to create a six-pitch traveller site.

Several versions of the plan have been knocked by back by Wakefield Council since the idea was first mooted in 2012.

A public inquiry was due to be held at the end of last year to conclude the matter once and for all, but that was then postponed after another amended application was submitted.

The proposed site lies close to the M62.

On Thursday, the council's planning committee ruled once again that the idea would constitute inappropriate development on green belt land and would put the health of children living there at risk.

Local resident Jacqueline Ineson, one of many neighbours to have fought against the plans, told the meeting: "The land in question has been left to deteriorate over the last eight years.

"If this was your children or grandchildren, you wouldn't want them to live on such a site."

Noise and fumes from the motorway, which council officers say would prevent people living at the site from opening the windows of their caravans, are central to concerns about the health of the travellers.

From left to right: Vikki Stansfield, Jacqueline Ineson and Stanley and Outwood East councillor Matthew Morley have all fought the plans.

The committee was told that three of the six families primed to move onto the site are in urgent need of accommodation, as there are no alternative sites for them elsewhere in the Wakefield district.

They currently move between unauthorised plots of land and roadsides and live an "unsettled" daily life, the council's report on the issue says.

However, nobody turned up to Thursday's meeting to speak in favour of the application.

Stanley and Outwood East councillor Jacqueline Williams, referring to the long-running nature of the saga started her speech with the words, "Here we are again."

She added: "I own a mobile home myself. It doesn't matter how you jazz it up with double glazing and heating, it's still a tin box on wheels.

"These people would be living in conditions that are not fit for their health and wellbeing.

"The landlord is not living on that site, but he will charge other people for staying there.

"He's not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. It's a business that will be run by him, although he will not be on site to supervise it."

Local Democracy Reporting Service