Residents told 33 more traveller sites needed

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Residents battling to stop a travellers’ site being built on a former airfield in North Yorkshire face a new fight after council bosses said 33 new pitches are needed across the district.

An independent expert’s report has found the pitches will need to be delivered in the Selby area by 2028 in a report set to be backed by councillors.

Selby Council says failing to identify adequate sites could leave it open to potential legal action and unable to protect the district against illegal encampments or unauthorised developments.

It says this has already been the case, as it has so far been unable to meet the total set out in a previous needs assessment, with a number of sites granted temporary planning permission by the Planning Inspectorate.

The new report comes at a time when a planning application for new pitches at Burn, near Selby, is expected to be considered at the council’s planning committee in coming months.

Council bosses say the application, if approved by councillors, would provide an additional 15 pitches towards the target of 33.

Objectors fighting the plans have claimed that the proposal will swamp the small village.

Another part of the airfield already provides 15 pitches and they are concerned a second site will be out of place in such a small community.

Coun John Mackman, the council’s lead executive member for place shaping, said “This very latest assessment, produced independently for the council, shows that we need to provide 33 new pitches for travellers between now and 2028.”

He added: “This is a significant number but less than we expected based on previous estimates, 
and it compares favourably with the local authorities on our boundaries such as York and East Riding.”

The report has been endorsed by members of the council’s executive and the report will now goes before full council tomorrow for ratification.