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Osbaldwick travellers’ site expansion plan unveiled
PLANS have been unveiled for a major expansion of a York travellers’ site, backed by Government funding.
City of York Council has been awarded £342,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) towards providing six extra pitches at the Osbaldwick site, as well as extra grazing land and shelters for horses in an attempt to prevent animals being tethered next to roads following a series of accidents in recent years.
The scheme, which would take the number of pitches at the Outgang Lane site to 18, will need to be approved through the planning process and a full application has now been submitted.
The council has said York has a “significant” shortfall in travellers’ accommodation, equating to a need for 36 more pitches by 2030, which it is looking to address through its Local Plan development blueprint. However, potential locations for some sites have caused controversy.
The Osbaldwick scheme, if it gains planning permission, will require council funding as well as the HCA contribution.
The authority said earlier this year that the exact amount of money it would put towards the expansion was still to be determined, after a Freedom of Information request to the HCA from Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters revealed the council intended to provide £286,000, and income from the additional pitches would help repay it.
In a statement to planners, DSP Architects, which has designed the scheme, said it would also include an improved “amenity block” for travellers and a play area. The Osbaldwick site lies within York’s currently unofficial green belt, but DSP’s statement said: “It is inevitable that at least some of the shortfall [in travellers’ sites] has to be provided on greenbelt land.
“The shortfall in the number of currently available pitches, the requirement to identify suitable sites and the difficulty in finding suitable sites within the settlement limit [such as on brownfield sites] constitute the very special circumstances which outweigh harm to the green belt.”
A decision on the planning application is expected to be taken next month, with the amount of council funding being discussed by its cabinet in November.