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Burn villagers in vote against new site for travellers
9:42am Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
MORE than 100 angry villagers have passed a vote of no confidence in Selby District Council over plans for a new traveller site at Burn.
Residents attending a packed meeting at the village’s Methodist chapel claimed they were being “side-lined, insulted and ridden over roughshod” by the council over the proposals for the site on Burn airfield.
They said they felt that because there were so few residents, their wishes and quality of life could safely be ignored by local politicians.
The meeting, called to give an update on the parish council’s progress in opposing the new development, was told by the parish council’s planning consultant that he believed Burn had genuine grounds for opposition.
The consultant, whose fees are being paid out of donations from residents to a fighting fund set up by the parish council rather than from the parish precept, said the new site did not meet planning criteria and there were many valid objections that could be put forward to give the village a compelling case.
Parish chairman Chris Phillipson claimed that only 18 months ago, Selby District Council had categorically promised at a public meeting that Burn would never be considered for another traveller/gipsy site, but said it appeared that promises were merely “expediently made when the heat is on.”
He claimed the site did not meet any approved criteria, there had been no real engagement to canvass local views and Selby was aiming to steam-roller the planning process simply because the land could be acquired with little effort.
But a spokeswoman for Selby council said national planning guidance dictated that local councils must identify land for a five-year supply of gipsy and traveller pitches.
“If the council fails to comply it would be unable to robustly defend against illegal encampments anywhere in the district,” she said.
“The council’s executive has pro-actively sought the views of the local traveller community and has listened carefully to representatives from Burn Parish Council, who have put their case twice at executive meetings and to full council. Delivering the legal obligation to provide new pitches is a requirement we must meet.”