New short-term traveller site set up by Leeds City Council

FORMER SCHOOL SITE: Travellers on land at Dolly Lane, Harehills.
FORMER SCHOOL SITE: Travellers on land at Dolly Lane, Harehills.
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The first temporary traveller site to be authorised by Leeds City Council has been closed, with a new site causing a stir among businesses already.

A group with around 11 caravans and a number of vehicles have moved onto land previously occupied by Primrose High School on Dolly Lane, Harehills, after the pioneering stopping site in Bath Road, Holbeck, closed a week ago.

The travellers have agreed to look after the land, which is near St James’s Hospital, ensure numbers are restricted and agree to a code of conduct.

But nearby businesses, which are mainly garages, have voiced their concerns after being told of the move without consultation.

One Dolly Lane business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The council have showed no thought to the impact this is going to have on all the local businesses next to the site in what is an already struggling climate.

“This will deter people from coming to this area now.”

Another garage owner added: “A lot could happen in three or four months. It could ruin me overnight.”

But after three months in Holbeck, the travellers are set for a similar stay in Harehills.

Helen Jones, chief executive officer of Leeds Gipsy and Traveller Exchange, said: “It is just fantastic and I do think it requires a bit of effort but not any more effort than chasing around unauthorised, unmanaged camps.”

She said locals should “give it a chance”, stating that the Holbeck site led to both health benefits for travellers and savings for the council.

Plans for 12 more permanent traveller pitches at Cottingley Springs, funded by a £1m Government grant, are currently being drawn up by the council to house Leeds-based groups.

A council spokeswoman said: “Following the success of the Bath Road site, at which the travellers abided by the code of conduct agreement, it was decided a further temporary site be arranged.

“The families will be allowed to stay at this location for a maximum of three months if they continue to abide by the agreement.”

She said the Holbeck site has now been cleansed and that unauthorised camps there will not be tolerated.

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