Showmen’s site is refused by planners

Residents at Fitzwilliam are angry about a proposed showmens site.  (h610a430)
Residents at Fitzwilliam are angry about a proposed showmens site. (h610a430)

Objectors are celebrating after plans for a showman’s site in Fitzwilliam were refused last week.

Wakefield Council’s planning committee had been expected to approve the application for seven residential caravans, storage and maintenance of vehicles and equipment at the site on Newstead Lane.

But councillors were unhappy with a number of issues, including site drainage, the increased risk of flooding, highways issues and the harm such a development would cause to the green belt land.

The decision was made despite a report to the planning committee that said very special circumstances for the site to be approved on green belt had been met and there was a recognised shortage of suitable travelling showpeople’s sites in the Wakefield district.

The report also stated that the site was not in an area identified by the Environment Agency as being as being at risk of flooding and it could be accommodated on the local road network.

The proposals had received 1,297 objections.

Coun Tony Upson, chairman of Hemsworth Town Council, said he was delighted with the decision.

He said: “We are over the moon. It is a victory for common sense. The councillors took on board the points campaigners made about the applicant not meeting the criteria of very special circumstances to build on greet belt land. We had hoped they would because the report that recommended approval just didn’t add up.

“We are hopeful this will be the end of it. It has already dragged on for so long and took a lot of hard work within the community to get to this point.”

But applicant Renny Mulhearn said he had not given up on the plans.

He said: “We are obviously very disappointed and we will be appealing against the decision.”

The proposed plots would have been used by seven families, with members ranging in age from seven months to 86.

Most of the families are currently living on unauthorised plots and the meeting heard that approval would alleviate pressure in other parts of the district, particularly Castleford.

Ward councillors Maureen Cummings and Glyn Lloyd had spoken against the plans at the meeting.

Coun Cummings said: “We feel it would be detrimental to the villages of Ryhill and Havercroft.

“Lots of the vehicles accessing the site could not travel under a nearby bridge and would only have three routes to the site, all on very rural roads.

“The roads are not built for such large vehicles. In 2007 this site flooded quite extensively.”