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Osbaldwick travellers’ site extension agreed
PLANS to extend an Osbaldwick travellers’ site, branded “unmanageable” by neighbours, are to go ahead despite objections from villagers, parish councils, the city councillor and the MP for the area.
The city council’s planning committee approved the proposals for six more pitches at the site in Outgang Lane, after a debate lasting nearly three hours and taking five votes before a decision could be made.
Council officers planning the extension said more pitches were desperately needed to relieve overcrowding on the site, but those opposing the scheme are now calling for a public inquiry into the decision and the scheme, which will be paid for by central government money.
Coun Mark Warters, who represents Osbaldwick on City of York council, said wheels were already in motion to see the plans examined by a government inspector, and local MP Julian Sturdy has called the decision “profoundly disappointing.”
David Shaw farms the land around the site, and told the meeting that damage to his crops, illegal grazing, and hay theft has cost him £9,000 in one year.
He fears more pitches will only make matters worse unless it the site properly managed.
MP Julian Sturdy has slammed the decision, saying the council should not be contemplating extending it until they can bring it under control.
He said: “Their failure to do this over the years has impacted greatly on the quality of life for neighbouring residents and local business owners.
“I have been asking the council to show me a management plan for the site for over a year and yet they only managed to cobble one together when the prospect of government funding came about. Likewise, they were happy for the site to remain in an awful condition for many years and only took action to clean it up when they heard public officials coming for a site visit.
“I will continue to work with local residents and parish councillors, to do whatever we can to prevent spades from hitting the ground until the council have regained the public trust.”