GIPSIES have set up camp near Newport’s Transporter Bridge.

Four caravans have been sited on Stephenson Street, near Corporation Park, since at least Thursday.

Newport council said it was aware of the illegal encampment and was investigating.

A spokeswoman for Newport council said: "Encampments such as this demonstrate why Newport needs official Gipsy and traveller sites.

“A well-managed transit site, where the temporary residents will pay for services and can stay for a specified period, will help the council tackle the continuing problem of illegal camps.

“The council is also seeking to establish a residential site for a small number of families who are longer term residents of Newport and have strong links to the city. They will also pay for services as well as council tax in the same way as other residents."

In 2009 a family lived near the Transporter Bridge illegally for nearly a year before they were moved to a "tolerated" site on Esperanto Way where they remain.

The city currently has no designated Gipsy and traveller sites and plans are currently being drawn up for potential sites in Ringland, Marshfield and Allt-yr-yn.

A preferred site for a permanent camp at the former road safety centre on Hartridge Farm Road has been identified along with a preferred transit site in a yard off the A449.

Smaller residential sites on the former Ringland allotments and Brickyard Lane in Allt-yr-yn have been identified as being suitable if the need arose in future, while land on Celtic Way, Marshfield, was chosen as an alternative transit site if the preferred option could not be developed.

The areas were chosen from a shortlist of 11 taking into account of 7,100 responses from the public.

There is an immediate need for 17 residential and seven transit pitches but a recent Welsh Government survey found 59 caravans sited in the city - 38 of which were in unauthorised areas.

The council must earmark such sites as part of its Local Development Plan (LDP). Full council will make a decision on whether to replace five existing sites in the plan with the newly chosen areas early next year.