Showman’s site refusal reasons to be outlined

Residents at Fitzwilliam are angry about a proposed showmens site.  (h610a430)
Residents at Fitzwilliam are angry about a proposed showmens site. (h610a430)

Planners will be outlining their reasons for refusing a showman’s site in Fitzwilliam at a meeting next week.

Wakefield Council’s planning committee turned down the application for seven residential caravans, storage and maintenance of vehicles and equipment at the site on Newstead Lane at a meeting on March 12.

Councillors must explain why the scheme was refused at the next planning meeting on April 9.

They are expected to agree that the ‘proposed change of use would constitute inappropriate development that would harm the open character of the green belt.’

A report to the committee goes on to say that ‘the applicant’s assertion that ‘very special circumstances’ existed to justify the development was duly considered. However members determined that they were not accepted as justification for eroding the openness and natural character of this particular green belt location.’

The decision was made despite a report to the initial planning committee which said very special circumstances for the site to be approved on green belt had been met and there was a recognised shortage of suitable travelling showpeople’s sites in the Wakefield district.

The councillors also had concerns about a number of other aspects, including site drainage, the increased risk of flooding and highways issues.

However, they are not expected to list these concerns as reasons why the application was turned down.

The proposals had received 1,297 objections and campaigners were delighted when they were refused.

Applicant Renny Mulhearn said he would appeal the decision.

The proposed plots would have been used by seven families, with members ranging in age from seven months to 86.

Most of them are currently living on unauthorised plots.