Huge backlash over traveller pitch proposal

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A huge backlash against plans to transform a village allotment into a traveller pitch has led to more than 180 people lodging objections.

The planning application has been submitted to convert the allotment off Sandgate Terrace in Kippax to create the pitch for one caravan, plus a dayroom, mobile home and parking space.

But the proposal has caused widespread concern in the community and led to a public meeting attended by more than 100 people at Kippax Central Club.

The meeting had been called by Kippax’s Leeds City Council ward member, Coun James Lewis.

He said he could understand the concerns over the idea of a traveller pitch and the connotations it brings, but says the objections should focus primarily on the council’s planning policy when it comes to the protection of allotment sites.

He said: “These allotments probably date back to before the Second World War and some have been sold off and privately owned, like this one.

“Under Leeds City Council planning policy they are green space and protected.

“There is a strength of feeling and I’m not surprised, any application to develop that site would generate a lot of objections.

“And because it’s a traveller pitch it’s causing some concern.”

One resident from Greenfield Avenue wrote in their objection letter to Leeds City Council: “I could not be more adamant with my objection for this planning application.

“To remove current green space for the use of a travellers site is aberrant.”

Another from Sandgate Drive said: “This is the first step in bringing down this area and allowing the vacant land to be changed from an allotment to a gypsy camp.

“We have seen the mess they leave when they pitch camps in other parts of our village - who would police this if more vans turned up?”