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Controversial scheme for Burn travellers site refused by planners
APPLAUSE rang out as a bid to build a new travellers’ site was rejected by Selby District Council.
More than 50 residents of Burn, including travellers from the existing site, attended the planning meeting which was set to decide whether a controversial new travellers’ site could go ahead after months of opposition.
Despite recommendations by planning officers to approve the plans, which were put forward by Selby District Council to help meet national demands for pitches, the planning committee voted seven to four against the scheme, which would have seen a new 15-pitch site built on Burn Airfield adjacent to the current site and effectively doubling its size.
The decision followed passioned speeches from local residents, including Graham Rawlings, of campaign group Burn Against New Site (BANS), the parish council, and members of the planning committee.
Mr Rawlings said: “This is a bad site in a bad location. It has got nothing to redeem it.
“We think this is wrong. This is a public site built by public money. It has to be right but it can’t be right if it’s in the wrong location. It must be in the most sustainable location and Burn is not it.”
Following the meeting on Wednesday evening, Burn parish council leader Chris Phillips said he was delighted by the decision: “It’s fantastic. It’s gone the right way for democracy and decency, but it was a bit touch and go.
“We realise the council has a difficult job finding suitable sites for pitches, however there are some good sites out there. Burn has proved we can get on with gipsies and travellers as we have fought alongside them. But Burn, at the end of the day, just was not suitable.
“It was unsustainable, lacked amenities, and couldn’t guarantee security for families travelling to and from it.”
An open email, sent by BANS to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, yesterday, said: “Now we wait to see what action Selby District Council intend to take. If they would like some help to choose a suitable location, Burn is happy to be involved. But, at least for the moment, this is the end.”