Plans for traveller site criticised ahead of government decision

Castle Gate in Stanley lies close to the M62.
Castle Gate in Stanley lies close to the M62.

Controversial plans to build a traveller's site on greenbelt land in Stanley have been condemned by councillors again.

Traveller families have wanted six pitches to be set aside off Castle Gate, each with a mobile home and touring caravan, since 2016 after a similar proposal dating back to 2012 failed previously.

The issue was discussed at a planning committee meeting on Thursday.

The issue was discussed at a planning committee meeting on Thursday.

But the objections of hundreds of local residents have helped block the scheme, with the potential impact of noise and air pollution on families from the nearby M62 among the reasons Wakefield Council's planning committee had refused it.

The applicants appealed the decision however, and it will now be decided by the government after a public inquiry.

An amended application was put before councillors on Thursday, which proposed an acoustic fence on the site be extended to mitigate the noise.

But the committee remained unchanged in their view that the site was unsuitable for families, and indicated they would oppose the plans again if they'd been in charge of the decision.

Objector Vikki Stansfield, representing residents, told the meeting that locals remained "extremely concerned" by the plans.

She said: "The special circumstances needed for building on the greenbelt are not met by this application.

"We believe that giving planning permission for a travellers site here would cause a major problem for Wakefield Council."

Stanley and Outwood councillor Jacqui Williams also objected.

She said: "I don't see how as a council we have the right to put children and elderly people are risk by place them in a situation we know will not be good for them."

Planning officers' report on the issue admitted that the shortage of places for travellers to go was a "continuous failing" of the council's and warned that at least four of the six families concerned were facing an "illegal roadside existence" if the application was not passed.

But Coun Williams said that only one of families were on the authority's waiting list for Heath Common, the area's biggest encampment for travellers.

Elected members voted overwhelmingly in favour of rejecting the proposal, with the abstaining Coun Williams the only member not to do so to avoid a conflict of interest.

Local Democracy Reporting Service