Plans for a travellers’ site on green belt land at Scammonden have been refused by Kirklees Council.
A traveller family are already living on the site just yards across the road from the former Nont Sarah’s pub and close to the Moorlands Lodge which was put up for sale recently.
The travellers who set up the unauthorised site have bought the Green Belt land where they are now pitched and their idea was for a development of pitches for four families of travellers.
Thomas Ward is the applicant and the retrospective application was submitted to Kirklees Council’s planning department by Warwickshire-based development consultant Philip Brown, who said: “They felt they had to get on with it. In their view they did not have any choice.
“When you are in a position of having appropriate accommodation you have that choice but if that’s not the case then you act in the best way you can for your family and they felt they had to move so it was a case of doing things as quickly as possible.
“They have moved from housing which was causing them a lot of problems.
“This housing is not what they are used to and it does have an effect on travellers’ mental health.
“I know this is difficult for people who live in houses to understand but travellers do have an aversion to living in bricks and mortar.”
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 is screened by an existing earth embankment and would be 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.”
A statement by Kirklees planners said: “The applicant has failed to demonstrate very special circumstances exist to clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt, the openness of the Green Belt and visual amenity from the formation of the bund, (an embankment or causeway), and hard standing and the change of use to a caravan site for four gypsy households.
“The proposal is considered to be an unsustainable location due to remote access to public transport local amenities and services.”
Mr Ward has the right to appeal the council’s decision.