The drawn-out legal battle over the Cottingley Springs traveller site has cost the council taxpayer almost £10,000, it has been revealed.
The figure concerns costs and legal fees with regard to Leeds City Council’s plan to expand the site, which has been subject to a public inquiry.
The sum does not include salaries for council officers overseeing the application.
The costs were confirmed at a meeting on November 12 by the executive member for neighbourhoods in response to a question from Morley Borough Independents Group leader Coun Robert Finnigan.
Coun Peter Gruen declared that the figure were broken down into £7,300 for “costs for council” and £2,600 for legal fees, but added: “This sum is offset greatly by what we inherited from the previous administration in 2010, of which Coun Finnigan was a member, which was more than £2m which had been spent on moving gypsies around the city.
“The legal costs on these matters are down dramatically for 2014/15.”
Speaking today (Friday), Coun Finnigan said: “When there are 35 other sites in Leeds that perfectly satisfy the criteria for a traveller’s site, it makes you wonder why Leeds City Council are spending so much public money on an isolated site. The application has very little support from either the travelling community or indeed other communities.
“Travellers sites are much better suited to brownfield sites that are near local facilities such as schools and doctors’ surgeries.”
A final decision on the plans is due to be made before March 2015 by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who took control of the process earlier this year.