Five options for Newport gipsy sites revealed
5:22pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
FIVE potential sites for the controversial gipsy sites in Newport have been revealed.
A special committee of councillors has put forward its preferred locations in Ringland, Allt-yr-yn and Marshfield.
They include a permanent site for up to three families at the former road safety centre on Hartridge Farm Road, and a potential smaller site on the former Ringland allotments.
This was welcomed by travellers who said they were close to local services and schools, but opposed by developer St Modwyn who is concerned about the size of the site.
Brickyard Lane in Allt-yr-yn could also house up to four plots if the need arose in future.
The preferred place for a transit sites would be a yard off the A449, the committee said, which was welcomed by the travelling community who said it had good links to major roads.
Land on Celtic Way, Marshfield, was chosen as an alternative transit site if the preferred option could not be developed.
The original shortlist of 11 sites which has been whittled down to these five, caused anger among the community.
More than 7,100 comments were received by the council highlighting a total of 40,000 issues concerning an earlier shortlist of 11 sites.
Each was read and analysed by an in-house team and were considered by the group before they compiled their latest list.
A report to councillors says there was an immediate need for 17 residential plots for families already on the housing waiting list, and seven transit pitches.
A survey conducted by the Welsh Government in July found 59 caravans sited in the city - 21 on lawful sites and 38 on unauthorised ones.
Newport doesn’t have a designated Gipsy and traveller site, which breaches Welsh Government policy, and suggested encampments must be included in the authority’s Local Development Plan (LDP), which sets out how the city will be developed in the coming years.
Managed sites would help the council tackle the continuing problem of illegal encampments.
The committee's recommendation will be discussed at a meeting on Monday before being reported to cabinet, but the final decision on whether to amend or replace the five sites already identified in the deposit LDP will be made by full council in early 2013.
COMMENT: Council has no choice
THERE will be mixed reaction to Newport council’s list of preferred sites for Gipsy and traveller sites in the city.
Residents whose areas are no longer on the council’s list will be jubilant. Those council tax payers who live near the five areas earmarked to become sites will be furious and ready to extend their protests.
We understand their concerns and we have reported the depth of feeling shown at public meetings after the initial 11-strong shortlist was unveiled in September.
More than 7,000 objections were lodged with the council.
The harsh reality is that these sites have to go somewhere in Newport. The Welsh Government insists on it.
The alternative would be to see the Welsh Government failing to approve Newport’s Local Development Plan, which sets out plans for future development and land use in the city.
There will no doubt be celebrations in places like Langstone, where there were huge protests against the prospect of a Gipsy site in the vicinity, to greet its removal fromthe shortlist.
Residents in Ringland and Marshfield will not feel so happy.
We doubt if anyone would welcome a site being opened near their properties.
The council has no choice. It has to earmark residential and transit sites for Gipsies and travellers.
Now it has done so and there will be more protests to follow.
But this is remains a problem to which there is no easy solution.