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Councillor in traveller sites green belt alert
GREEN-BELT land could become home to illegal encampments if more traveller sites are not built, a councillor has warned.
Selby District Council is required to build 33 new traveller and gipsy sites before 2028, the authority’s executive was told this week.
The Traveller Needs Assessment report was carried out independently for the council, and will be used to assess planning applications for new traveller sites, under a Government rule which states local councils must provide an adequate number of sites.
Coun John Mackman, a member of the council’s executive, said: “This is a significant number but less than we expected based on previous estimates, and it compares favourably with the local authorities on our boundaries such as York and East Riding.
“We have a statutory duty to identify traveller accommodation needs and then to act on this information to provide the necessary pitches.”
But he warned: “Not doing so has consequences, which could leave us unable to protect green-belt land in our district from illegal encampments and unauthorised developments.”
If the council does not identify the set number of sites, it could be open to legal challenges, and the authority claims it would be unable to protect the district against illegal encampments or unauthorised developments.
An application for 15 new pitches on land at Burn has already proved unpopular with many local residents. A decision on that site, which the council said would count towards the necessary 33 sites, is expected next month.
The report was endorsed by the executive and will go before the full council on Tuesday.