A planning committee has rejected proposals for a controversial traveller camp on green belt and on the Leeds–Wakefield border.
Planning officers had recommended that Wakefield Council’s planning committee approve plans for a 10-pitch site on grazing land next to the M62 motorway at Castle Gate, Stanley.
Officers said the site would not normally be considered for development, but stressed there were ‘special circumstances’ as council chiefs have a duty to provide sites for travellers.
Planning board members said they agreed there was a need for more travellers’ sites in Wakefield district.
But they rejected the application and said they did not agree that there were sufficient ‘special circumstances’ to warrant building the site on green belt land.
More than 40 objectors packed in to the public gallery during the planning meeting at County Hall, Wakefield.
After the meeting, Stanley Residents Group chair Anne Storey said: “Everybody is thrilled and relieved. People have been having sleepless nights worrying about this.”
Group secretary Vikki Stansfield, who lives just 15 yards from the proposed camp, said: “We have had a year of hell but we have still got our green fields and that is why we live there and we didn’t want that spoiling.”
Coun Matthew Morley (labour/Stanley and Outwood East), said: “We are over the moon with the planning committee’s decision.”
Speaking in favour of the application, former traveller Elizabeth Spaven told the meeting: “We want to provide a clean, stable environment for 10 traveller families who can be given the facilities they need as well as opportunities for education.”
She added: “As travellers ourselves, we know the people we are dealing with.
“Although there are good and bad in all walks of life, the travellers we will be dealing with are good, decent people.”
Speaking against the proposal, objector Anne Storey said: “This is a knee-jerk reaction for short-term answers that has already been identified and dealt with by Wakefield Council. The application is for commercial gain which will be outside council control and we have no reassurances that pitches will go to those who need it.”