Travellers given permission to stay on greenbelt land for five more years

The Brier Lane site.
The Brier Lane site.

Travellers have been given permission to remain on a green belt site between Havercroft and South Hiendley for another five years.

Wakefield Council granted the group temporary planning permission for six pitches off Brier Lane, Havercroft in 2011.

They were due to vacate the site by December 31 last year.

The travellers sought fresh permission to enable them to make the site permanent in 2012.

But the council refused their application. And David Connor Junior, acting on behalf of the travellers, later submitted an appeal against the council’s decision.

After a five-day public inquiry, which opened in 2014, the Planning Inspectorate has now granted new temporary permission, allowing the travellers to remain on the site for five more years.

In the inquiry report, inspector Richard Clegg said that the site had “reduced the openness” of the green belt land and had “encroached” into the countryside.

He said: “Harm to the green belt caused by the establishment of a permanent gypsy site in this location would be considerable.”

But Mr Clegg acknowledged the travellers had a “personal need” for somewhere to stay.

He said there were “no sites available to set against the need for gypsy and traveller accommodation” in Wakefield. And he later concluded that the “clear and immediate” need for such accommodation and the circumstances of the individual travellers “clearly outweighed” temporary harm to the green belt land.

His report added: “Most of the occupants have nowhere else to go, the harm arising from the development would be of limited duration, and the council is making efforts through its working group to find other [travellers] sites.”

Background to the travellers site:

In 2009, Wakefield Council issued the travellers with an enforcement notice. The council alleged they had changed the land to a residential caravan site without permission and required they restore it back. The travellers appealed the notice in August 2010 and planning permission was granted for the site to be used by the travellers until December 31, 2013. In 2011, further temporary planning permission was granted, allowing them to stay until December 31 last year. They then requested the permanent planning permission in 2012.