MORLEY MP Ed Balls has come out in opposition to controversial proposals for a new traveller site in the town.
As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, plans have been drawn up for a 55-pitch site either side of Valley Road, near Morley train station.
Mr Balls has now said he believes that the earmarked location is “clearly the wrong place for a travellers’ site”.
He has also pointed out that an existing travellers’ camp at Cottingley Springs is less than two miles away from Valley Road. In a letter sent to a public meeting held about the plans last night, the Labour MP wrote: “Given an existing local travellers’ site, people feel other areas of the city should also be expected to take their fair share of responsibility for the provision of other sites.”
He also argued that land which is “in close proximity” to Morley’s busy station would not be a good location for a travellers’ site. Mr Balls goes on: “Whilst it is clearly important to have adequate provision for travellers’ sites across the city .... I have always argued that sites must be in the right places.”
The MP’s comments have drawn an angry response from the Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange welfare group.
In a letter to Mr Balls, chief executive Helen Jones said: “Your words are potentially very hurtful to our members. Your throwaway comment that more sites are needed, wrapped up in painful ‘but don’t put these people in our back yard’ language, as it was, does not suggest a genuine solution to issues which are of some concern to many of your constituents.”
The proposed development at Valley Road would also include a play area, management cabin and bathroom facilities as well as a grazing paddock and a 40-space car park.