Inquiry opens into Cottingley Springs traveller site expansion

Cottingley Springs caravan site near Gildersome.
Cottingley Springs caravan site near Gildersome.

Residents and councillors have attended a three day public inquiry held by the Planning Inspectorate in Leeds to consider the expansion of the Cottingley Springs traveller site near Gildersome.

The inquiry, chaired by a planning inspector, is considering if permission should be granted for the controversial application after the Secretary of State for Planning, Eric Pickles, called it in for further consideration.

Coun Robert Finnigan, who has led the group at the inquiry, said “We are battling against Leeds City Council who have employed a barrister to put their case.

“We are a group of local residents and councillors but we believe it is important to continue campaigning against this application regardless of the strength of the team opposing us.”

Coun Bob Gettings, who also attended the hearing, said: “It is barely credible that not one site can be found across the whole of the Leeds City Council area that could accommodate a small family traveller site.

“This is why the council claims Cottingley Springs has to be expanded despite opposition form the travelling community, local residents and Gildersome Parish Council.

“Their claim of no available alternative sites just doesn’t add up!”

A further day of evidence will be taken in two weeks’ time with a site visit following the closure of the inquiry.

A report will then be sent to Eric Pickles who will make the final decision sometime in the autumn.