Wakefield Council needs to find ‘more pitches’ for travellers

The official re-opening of Whitwood Golf Course in Castleford. Cllr Denise Jeffery. (P521C234)
The official re-opening of Whitwood Golf Course in Castleford. Cllr Denise Jeffery. (P521C234)

COUNCIL bosses are looking to find new homes for travellers after a survey concluded that seven new pitches were needed in the next five years.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee are expected to approve the findings of the survey into the needs of travellers across the district on Tuesday.

The survey also found that Wakefield’s travelling communities had poor access to schools and suffered from health issues including asthma, arthritis and depression.

Tuesday’s cabinet report said sites on Brier Lane, in Havercroft, Pineapple Farm, in Warmfield, and land next to Heath Common all had temporary planning permission and were considered suitable sites.

Permission has been applied for at other sites, including Castle Gate, in Stanley, but these have not been taken into account as suitable sites to meet the extra demand, which is expected to have become 14 pitches by 2022.

Wakefield Council’s deputy leader Coun Denise Jeffery said a working group had been set up to find suitable sites.

She said: “The alternative to not providing enough pitches is illegal camps which cause disruption in neighbourhoods, damage to the environment and incur significant legal and clearing up costs. The law is quite clear that we have to provide enough sites to meet travellers’ accommodation needs. We already have a well-established site at Heath Common with 70 pitches.

“As yet we have not identified a specific location for more pitches but that is the next step. Any proposal for developing a new travellers site would need council approval and would be subject to consultation with the local community through planning.”