Kirklees Council has been urged to back plans for a travellers’ site on green belt land above Huddersfield.
Plans have been tabled for a development of four pitches, each containing a mobile home, touring caravan and hard standing, on green belt land to the south of New Hey Road at Scammonden.
The traveller family are already living on the site.
The application from Warwickshire-based development consultants Philip Brown Associates said the site would be used by an extended family made up of four separate households who have been living in conventional housing contrary to their Irish traveller traditions.
It acknowledged that traveller sites were considered inappropriate in a green belt, but argued there were no alternative sites for the family and that their “very special circumstances” justified approval of the scheme.
It said the small-scale development was on a site set back from New Hey Road and accessed via a gated narrow driveway. The site would be screened by an existing earth embankment and landscaped with shrubs and trees.
The application said a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment in 2015 estimated a need for 10 permanent pitches in Kirklees over the next five years, but said: “The council does not currently have a policy for the provision of traveller accommodation and, furthermore, this policy vacuum has existed since 2007.”
It said the council’s “long-standing failure” to provide travellers’ pitches added weight to the case for this application to be approved. It said: “It is likely to be next year before the council will have an up-to-date Local Plan and be in a position to identify a five-year supply of deliverable land for gypsy sites.”
Philip Brown, of Philip Brown Associates, said: “The site provides a settled base from which the family can register with a doctor and enrol their children into an appropriate school, but they will continue to travel because that is part of their way of life.”
He said the site would not be used by other travellers.
Mr Brown, who specialises in such applications, said councils often had a “presumption to refuse applications from travellers because it is seen as an unpopular type of development” and said there was “a tension between where the council would want to see gypsy sites and where the public want to see gypsy sites.”
Kirklees Highways and West Yorkshire Police have raised no objection to the scheme.
No decision date has yet been set for the application.