Villagers call for public inquiry into plans for travellers’ site

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VILLAGERS have called on the Government to hold a public inquiry into controversial plans to build another travellers’ site on a former World War Two airfield.

Parish councillors in the village of Burn have written to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles urging him to call in a planning application by Selby District Council for the new site on the former wartime airfield and hold the public inquiry into the proposals.

Burn Parish Council’s chairman Chris Phillipson said the scheme is contrary to planning policies and would create the third largest site in Yorkshire when added to the airfield’s existing travellers’ settlement and swamp the village, which has 380 residents. A 98-page dossier detailing why the site should not be built at Burn has also been submitted.

Coun Phillipson said: “Please do not assume we are anti-traveller or anti-gypsy. We are not and have gypsies in our village action group fighting to prevent the development going ahead. The existing site’s residents are as opposed to a new site as any in the settled community.”

The council is planning to build 15 pitches as part of a strategy to accommodate travellers. Another part of the airfield already provides 15 pitches, although the parish council stressed the travellers who already live there are “very well integrated” and have not caused any problems. Elsewhere in the district there are 12 pitches in Carlton, but the district council has a statutory requirement to meet additional demand.

The district council said it was aware of the call-in request, and was awaiting details from the National Planning Casework Unit.