Public inquiry into Castle Gate traveller site plan delayed again

Plans for a travellers' pitch here were first mooted in 2012.
Plans for a travellers' pitch here were first mooted in 2012.

A public inquiry into whether or not a travellers' site can be built on greenbelt land near the M62 at Wakefield has been postponed again.

Residents in Stanley have been fighting against plans for an encampment on a plot off Castle Gate for seven years.

Wakefield Council has refused two separate schemes planning permission.

Wakefield Council has refused two separate schemes planning permission.

Wakefield Council has twice refused planning permission for the scheme, but there was an appeal second of those verdicts, which was delivered in 2017.

The government's Planning Inspectorate, which has the final word on such matters, was due to hold a public inquiry into the matter last November, but that was then adjourned until May this year.

After another delay, the inquiry was then due to resume, in Wakefield, on November 19.

But it has now been postponed again after the applicants submitted revised proposals for a six-pitch traveller site at Castle Gate, which they hope the council will approve.

If they don't, the inquiry could still go ahead in the new year.

A message on Wakefield Council's planning portal this week said: "Please be advised that we have received an email from the Planning Inspectorate that the Castle Gate inquiry which was due to resume on November 19, 2019 has been placed on hold until January 24, 2020 when the position will be reviewed.

"This is following a request from the appellant, whilst a revised scheme is pursued separately."

The Planning Inspectorate confirmed the information was correct.

Local objectors who've fought the proposals during the saga insist that building a travellers' site on the area would constitute "inappropriate development" on the green belt.

Concerns have also been expressed that young children from the travelling families would be exposed to excessive from the nearby motorway.

Responding to the latest application, one objector said: "This development would adversely impact the openness of the greenbelt and, if approved, this will open the floodgates for future building on greenbelt in the surrounding area."

However, one comment in support of the new application said that the development would "take pressure" off the council and save the taxpayer money.

That individual also said that the applicant had been made a victim of "racism" and "prejudice" during the saga.

They added: "The only thing green on the land is the hedgerow that surrounds it, stopping us seeing what's inside.

"It's between the motorway (and a) main road (on) an industrial estate motorway gantry not a meadow with a wood and stream."

Local Democracy Reporting Service