John Trickett wades in to Wakefield Gypsy site fight

A field that runs adjacent to the Grove and the Balk in Walton, where proposals have been drawn up for a travellers site
A field that runs adjacent to the Grove and the Balk in Walton, where proposals have been drawn up for a travellers site

AN MP has urged villagers to “hold their nerve” over plans to build a travellers’ campsite in Walton.

Controversial plans for an 18-pitch site on land between The Grove and The Balk were shown to villagers by planning consultants on Tuesday.

At a heated meeting of Walton Parish Council last week, it was suggested that the plans could be halted if support was given for a 129-bed care home on the same land.

Villagers fought off initial plans for 250-bed care home last summer on the grounds that it was too large.

But Jon Trickett MP said people should not relent on the revised plan.

He said: “The village should not be held to ransom to agree something which it doesn’t want as a way of stopping something that it doesn’t want even more.”

A spokesman for Hanover Development (Leeds) Ltd, which owns the land, said: “While there are ongoing discussions with local people via the parish council, we would not want to lend such suggestions credibility by commenting, other than to say we do not consider them appropriate, helpful or constructive.”

The proposed campsite would be developed by Gypsy Maurice Black, who was present at Tuesday’s consultation alongside planning consultant Matthew Green.

Mr Green is known as the ‘Gypsy King’ for representing hundreds of travelling communities in planning matters through his company Green Planning Solutions.

At the meeting, objectors claimed extra traffic would cause problems for elderly people living on The Grove.

They also said the plans did not cater suitably for waste disposal, and that there was nothing in place to help a travelling community integrate with the village.

Mr Black said he would monitor waste disposal at the site, and Mr Green said he would take suggestions on a “mechanism” for liaison between the village and the travellers.

Mr Green said he hoped to lodge a planning application within the next few weeks.