Permanent travellers sites could save cash, council argues

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Councillors say finding the necessary travellers sites across the district could help save money in the long run.

A new report put before Wakefield Council’s cabinet this week outlined the need for permanent pitches has leapt from 28 to 65, to be delivered over in the next five years.

The number needed by 2032 has also risen from 64 to 116 in the up-to-date assessment.

The need comes as Wakefield Council renews its local development framework - to identify the district’s housing needs over the 18 years.

Coun Denise Jeffery, deputy leader of the council says illegal encampments are “costing a fortune” to clear up, and earmarking new legal sites could help alleviate the problem. However, she admits the news is certain to worry residents.

Speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, she said: “It’s a difficult situation and our communities always worry about the implications.

“If we do not address the situation then our local development framework will not be sound and it won’t go forward.

“We have to find these pitches fairly quickly.

“At the moment, no sites have been identified and we don’t want people worrying about sites that have been identified before.

“This will be done in a sensitive manner, but we have to do it.”

Coun Les Shaw, agreed, adding: “It’s something that causes a lot of distress and it’s in every ward.

“There are travellers who pitch up on the same sites every year and it’s a legal nightmare.”