Thursday, 23 February 2012

Gypsy family to set up site in Wakefield

A family of Travellers is attempting to relieve West Yorkshire’s lack of authorised sites with a 10 new permanent pitches.

The landowners, who come from a family of English Romany Gipsies, have spoken out about their Leeds border plans, in Castle Gate, Stanley, Wakefield.

Their proposals would turn grazing land next to the M62 into 10 residential pitches, with associated hard-standing, landscaping and utility rooms.

A member of the family, who wished to remain anonymous, told the YEP: “It has been a major issue for years that there’s not enough sites. The opportunity to have a privately-run site, which a lot of people would in my opinion prefer, will obviously alleviate illegal camps.”

The site, which would be run as a business where residing families would be vetted, would be distanced from housing.

She said: “The council have been really supportive and not sort of said ‘you have no chance whatsoever’, they said ‘give us all the information and we will take it from there’. There’s a massive difference between private-run and council-run sites.”

In 2009 it was estimated that there was a shortfall of 86 traveller pitches in West Yorkshire.

Coun Simon Wilson (Con, Stanley and Outwood East) said: “However the pro-side puts its story, people hear the word traveller and don’t want it in their back yard and if that was their opinion I would support them.”

Coun Wilson said that one concern he anticipated from residents is the proximity to the proposed site for the new Wakefield Wildcats stadium, where there are currently fly-tipping issues.

A resident living nearby, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I wouldn’t particularly welcome 10 families living right next door in a small field.”

Leeds City Council, which has 41 permanent pitches, was recently given £1m of government funding for 12 more in the city, while Wakefield Council’s Heath Common site is already one of the UK’s largest permanent camps.

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council service director of planning said the plans would be advertised and available to view on their website next week.

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