TORY MP Simon Reevell has declared war on Wakefield Council over plans for a gipsy site on the DewsburyOssett border.
Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Mr Reevell accused Wakefield Council of misleading people over the need for councils to provide gipsy sites.
Mr Reevell said the new coalition Government had scrapped Labour’s old directives and there was no longer any such requirement.
“Local authorities have been told they do not have to comply with guidance on travellers’ sites because it is dead in the water,” said Mr Reevell.
Wakefield Council plans to shut the Ossett Household Waste Recycling Centre (pictured below), known locally as Owl Lane tip, in 2012 and replace it with a gipsy site.
So many people attended a public meeting at Ossett Town Hall last Thursday night that two meetings had to be held. With 500 people inside, the doors had to be locked leaving almost 200 outside.
Inside the meeting three council officials deputy leader Coun Denise Jeffery, planning chief Neville Ford and waste management boss John Nortcliffe had to face the music.
Mr Ford, who is in charge of drawing up the council’s planning blueprint, the Local Development Framework (LDF), insisted that councils still had a duty to provide sites for travellers. He said: “The Government is thinking of revoking that circular but at the moment you are required to make provision.”
Mr Reevell said that not only had the requirement to provide travellers’ sites been dropped but the LDF had been scrapped by the Government too.
“Kirklees has binned the LDF but Wakefield seems to be clinging onto it,” said Mr Reevell. “I can only think it is down to empirebuilding. Wakefield don’t seem to accept that not only are the wheels off the wagon the horses have been cut loose.”
Mr Reevell spoke personally with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles this week and was assured about Government policy.
“From the Government’s point of view the only travellers’ sites they will support are transitional sites where local authorities can tow caravans when camps are set up where they shouldn’t be.
“The only gipsy sites the Government wants are technically car parks so that travellers can be moved on.”
Mr Reevell has launched a petition which is available to sign in shops, businesses, pubs and clubs in Shaw Cross, Earlsheaton and Hanging Heaton.
Mr Reevell said he had never seen such anger at a public meeting.
Special twopage report on Pages 4 & 5
Huge outcry over gipsy plans on DewsburyOssett borderFriday 10th September 2010
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