A TRAVELLERS’ site in Ryedale is being expanded in a bid to prevent families illegally occupying other areas in the district.

The plan, which was approved by Ryedale District Council’s planning committee last week, will see seven new pitches, each with their own amenity block, created at Tara Park, near Malton.

Gary Housden, the authority’s head of planning, said the expansion would enable Ryedale to cope with “shortfalls” in accommodation for travellers. Tara Park, which was given planning permission 12 years ago, currently has 13 pitches and seven buildings housing facilities for those living there.

The plans, submitted by Yorkshire Housing, will provide enough space for 14 caravans to the west of the existing pitches, near the B1248 York Road.

In its application, the organisation said: “It will provide a legal base for additional families to accommodate their mobile homes, which are in demand in this area and throughout the country. The available space for this type of land use is limited within the local area, but the demand for accommodation is high. By making better use of this land, this will reduce the need for travellers to house on land which they do not own.”

Mr Housden said: “This site is considered to be reasonably convenient for schools, shops and medical facilities because of its proximity to Malton and has little, if any impact, on existing residences,” it said.

Mr Housden’s report said the North Yorkshire Gypsy and Traveller Steering Group had supported Yorkshire Housing’s plans as they would make a “significant contribution” towards dealing with the shortfall in pitches.