Four year old “Showman’s Yard” report used by York Council to justify Wetherby Road plan

The York Council has admitted that a report, which it claims justified establishing a 20 pitch “Showman’s Yard” on land located between Knapton and Wetherby Road, is 4 years old.

Proposed Showman's site Wetherby Road Knapton

Proposed Showman’s site Wetherby Road Knapton

It appears here in a list of relevant documents available on the internet.

Essentially the report, compiled by a consultancy company called “arc4” from Manchester, details the aspirations of the relatively small group of “showpeople” who tour the country providing fairground style entertainment.

One of the findings of the report relates to the number of “Yards” required to accommodate Showpeople across North Yorkshire. The term ‘Yard’ is used to describe an area that comprises a series of ‘plots’ which accommodate family and extended family units

National policy guidance in respect of Showmen was first set out by the last government within the Communities and Local Government Circular 04/2007: Planning for Travelling Showpeople (21st August 2007).

However this Circular led the present government to consult on new guidelines which give local residents more say in planning policy. The distinction between “Travellers” (the Gypsy community) & “Showpeople” became somewhat blurred.

All local authorities were consulted on the proposals before new guidance was issued.

A copy of the government’s guidance, which was issued in 2012, can be found here

“Travelling showpeople” are defined in the circular as meaning:

“Members of a group organised for the purposes of holding fairs, circuses or shows (whether or not travelling together as such). This includes such persons who on the grounds of their own or their family’s or dependants’ more localised pattern of trading, educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily or permanently, but excludes Gypsies and Travellers

Crucially the new policy says “Traveller sites (temporary or permanent) in the Green Belt are inappropriate development”

The Government circular is not included in the list of reports that the Council says influenced the York Cabinets proposals.

Typical Showman's Yard near Bedlington

Typical Showman’s Yard near Bedlington

The Council is now free to set its own “targets” for the number of Yards and plots it will provide over a 5 year planning period.

In 2009, the Council commissioned report, had identified a shortfall of 54 plots across North Yorkshire.

Of these, the showmen themselves had expressed a preference for 23% (13 plots) to be located in the York area. The next most popular areas were Hambleton and Selby.

The report identifies a maximum size for each yard of 12 plots with the Showman’s preference being for Yards with no more than 6 plots.

The Showmen (who are represented by a Guild) said that their top priority was good access to main roads. Access to shops and schools were the next most important considerations.

Of high importance for stop over yards was the “Capacity for light industrial working on-yard to allow for maintenance and repairs between fairs”.

It is clear, therefore, that based on its own survey of need – and current government guidance – the Wetherby Road location for a Showman’s Yard containing 20 plots is unnecessarily large, poorly located for access to public services, likely (because of semi industrial activities) to be a source of nuisance to nearby homes and in conflict with central Government planning guidance on the conservation of the Green Belt.

Irrespective of any decision on the location of a Showman’s’ Yard (or Yards), the Wetherby Road site is now under threat as its “Green Belt” designation has been challenged by the Council.

Allocation by the Council of this site for residential or retail activities would maximise its value for developers.

With the Councils justification for allocating building land for 22,000 additional homes being ridiculed, they have been forced into refusing access to key planning documents.

If this approach continues after the start of the official consultation period then they are likely to face a legal challenge

NB. What is described as a “drop in” exhibition on the Local Plan has been scheduled for Acomb Explore Library on Front Street on Thursday 20th June (2:30pm – 7:00pm). The Council are not staging any public meetings as part of their “consultation” on their planning proposals.

7 thoughts on “Four year old “Showman’s Yard” report used by York Council to justify Wetherby Road plan

  1. […] Protection Group has no party political affiliation. However, we were grateful for a recent blog post by the ex-leader of York Council Steve Galloway which drew our attention to one of the main […]

  2. stephen sawyer says:

    there is a large concrete area opposite the existing traveler site in clifton moor also a vast area suitable on rufforth airfeild why are these areas not considered also could you tell me how the drainage system will cope when it is full of used oil after so called servicing of equiptment and twenty plots will definatley turn into one hundred THIS IS A DISSASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN GET A GRIP THIS IS GREENBELT ////

    • MIKE MALINS says:

      FAIR GROUND FOLK AND CIRCUS A LIKE
      ARE NOT GYPSIES STEPHEN SAWYER
      THEY DO NOT THROW OIL DOWN DRAINS IT IS DEPOSED OF IN THE PROPER MANOR .
      Also FAMILY’S DON:T JUST FLOCK TO A SITE LIKE THEY DO IN THE GYPSIES
      FAMILY’S .YOU WILL FIND WITH IN A SHOWMANS YARD OR CIRCUS YARD THEY ARE KEPT VERY TIDY AT ALL TIMES .THE TRAILERS THEY LIVE IN HAVE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOUSE .PLEASE DO NOT REPEAT DO NOT CONFUSE YOUR LITTLE BRAIN .BETWEEN THE GYPSIES AND THE FAIRGROUND OR CIRCUS PEOPLE .YOU ARE A ZILLION MILES AWAY IN YOUR THOUGHTS

  3. […] apparently only found out about the plans – which include a controversial proposal to build a Showman’s Yard on nearby Wetherby Road – when the Residents Association delivered a public meeting […]

  4. […] Labour abandon plan to construct a Showmans Yard on Wetherby Road. […]

  5. […] Most were opposed to plans to build on Acomb Moor and on land located between Wetherby Road and Knapton. […]

  6. Ross Jones says:

    The Showman will contribute towards the local economy and will keep thier sites tidy.They also will stay in these sites and will not move about like the gypsy community who do not want settled sites..Showpeople are like any other business and have to comply with Health and Safety Regulations and have a strict rule book regulated by the Showmens Guild of Great Britain.

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