Cabinet to consider expansion of gypsy and traveller accommodation

05/01/2021, PR-9773

​Wakefield Council's Cabinet will be asked to approve proposals for an extension of the current Gypsy and Travellers pitch provision at Heath Common at their meeting next week.

The provision of 23 permanent pitches and six transit or temporary pitches complies with the Council's obligations to meet accommodation needs and to reduce the number of illegal encampments across the district.

Approving land at Heath Common for additional accommodation will help meet a shortfall in accommodation for the Gypsy and Travellers community and will provide the opportunity for a safe, secure and managed site in a location that already has a community base and infrastructure to support extra pitches.

Cllr Darren Byford
Cllr Darren Byford

​Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: "We need to carefully consider the culturally specific requirements, such as the need for additional sites, to meet the needs and requirements of the Gypsy and Travellers community within Wakefield.

"Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of unauthorised encampments across the district, which suggests that more transit provision is needed and this proposal would meet the current need and the needs of the future, whilst also helping to stop illegal encampments.

"The plans would also prevent future speculative developers and landowners from bringing forward sites across the district which are less suitable than the already well-established site at Heath Common."

The Council is required to plan and make provision for the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers under Housing and Planning legislation and guidance. The specific requirements are set out in the Housing Act 2004, Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Policy for Traveller Sites 2015.

Members of Wakefield's Cabinet are meeting virtually on Tuesday 12 January at 10.30am to discuss the plans. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council's website.