New application for Leeds caravan site

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A FARM in east Leeds is bidding to keep a mini-community of 84 caravans in place for use by seasonal workers.

Permission for the existing caravan site at Garforth’s Sturton Grange soft fruit farm was granted by planners at Leeds City Council in 2009.

There had been long-standing complaints from people with homes near the farm about the late-night behaviour of some of its seasonal workers.

In a compromise arrangement, the site that was approved on a time limited basis by the council seven years ago was further away from residential roads like The Chase and The Grange than the land at the farm where caravans had previously been located.

Consent for the new site was renewed in 2011 and now farm bosses at a firm called Makins have submitted another planning application seeking permission for the retention of the caravans.

Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth & Swillington) told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The original decision in 2009 was a compromise and it has worked well. It made sense to move the caravans away from what was a very sensitive position adjacent to housing.

“I’m not aware of any new concerns about the location being raised since then.” A document lodged with the council as part of the planning application says: “If there was any possibility of housing the workers in Garforth, Micklefield or Kippax ... then it would be in Makins’ interest to do so as ultimately this would be a far cheaper option.”

The document also warns: “Put simply, in the event that it was not possible to continue with the caravan accommodation, the business would fail.”

Most of Makins’ workers are from European countries, with many studying agriculture and English and generally staying for about six months.

Any comments on the planning application should be submitted to the council by July 22.