A TRAVELLER'S site near Selby must be vacated, the Government has decided.

The site, in Hillam Lane, consists four caravans and outbuildings, and was set up without planning permission in 2009, but temporary permission was granted up to June this year.

Residents in nearby villages including Hillam, Monk Fryston and Burton Salmon, have previously expressed concern about the site, and local parish councils had each submitted their concerns to the Planning Inspector.

An appeal by the residents in 2012 requested the temporary permission be made permanent, but a planning inquiry said this should be refused, and this week, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, upheld the decision to refuse permission for the site, despite Selby District Council's need for more Traveller pitches.

A written response to the appeal said: "Although the Secretary of State considers that the unmet need for sites and the needs of the occupants carry substantial weight in favour of the proposal, he does not consider that these factors, either individually or taken together, are sufficient to clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt and other harm so as to amount to the very special circumstances needed to justify granting permanent consent or a further temporary permission."

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, welcomed the decision, which he said was due in part to the work of the parish councils and Selby District Councillor John Mackman, who had also objected to the site.

Mr Adams said "The decision demonstrates this government's commitment to protect the green belt from development and to ensuring that there is fairness in reaching planning decisions. The planning system does not entitle the owner of a field to set up caravans and buildings and live there without first obtaining permission.

"The responsibility for making sure this happens rests with Selby District Council and I will be asking them to set this in motion as soon as possible. The parish councils need to be congratulated on the way in which they presented their case. It is good to see that the points they made have been taken into consideration by the Planning Inspector in making her recommendation."