COUNCILLORS will next week make a decision on controversial plans for a permanent travellers’ site in a North Yorkshire village, which opponents claim could harm the site of a historic battle.

Landowner Reginald Robshaw, who has had permission to use the site at The Gallops in Towton as a temporary travellers’ site since 2009, has applied for the site to become permanent.

But Selby District Council’s planning committee last month said it felt the plans should be turned down despite officials recommending approval and deferred a final decision.

Towton Parish Council said the Main Street site is close to where the Battle Of Towton was fought in 1461 during the Wars Of The Roses and the precise boundaries of the battlefield have not been fully defined, claiming the travellers’ site may damage the area’s history.

Planning officers said that, although the land is in the green belt, the district’s need for travellers’ accommodation should outweigh the fact that the site would be “inappropriate” countryside development.

A report which will go before next Monday’s planning meeting said officials stood by their recommendation to approve the plans, but if they were refused, it should be because councillors did not believe there were “very special circumstances” for allowing the site to become a permanent fixture in the green belt.