Residents’ fears over Torfaen traveller site
11:34am Wednesday 11th December 2013 in News
A CAMPAIGNER has slammed Torfaen council over proposals to create a gypsy “ghetto” in Cwmynyscoy, under the Local Development Plan (LDP) given the go ahead last week.
Adrian Bold, one of the members of protest group Cwmynyscoy Action Group (CwmNAG) said the ward – the smallest in the borough – had been chosen because it would show the “least resistance”.
Under the LDP, existing provisions for travellers will be extended in the area, with 32 new pitches at Shepherds Hill, on an unused football pitch at the Race, and ten more at a privately-owned site, Rose Cottage. More than 60 caravans are already estimated to be housed in the area.
Mr Bold said democracy had gone “out the window” with the decision.
“This is not an issue with the gypsies, who have been here longer than I have,” said the 65-year-old, who lives less than half a mile from the two existing sites," he said. “I am not at war with them, but with the council.
“The residents here are being made to suffer to suit everyone else. We are the weakest ward in the borough, and one of the most deprived.
“I understand there has to be provisions for travellers but housing them all in one place will do nothing to improve the situation here.”
Mr Bold, who said he had made significant representation in objection to both the council and the inspector who approved the plans for adoption, said his problem was with travellers who had no interest in the area, citing problems of noise, mess, and illegal caravan parking.
He called it a “damage limitation exercise” for the council.
“The plan has almost unanimous support because no-one else wants it in their back yard,” he added.
“It’s a case of put up with this or get driven out for us.”
The plans will see undermined land, currently occupied by an unused football pitch at the Race, remediated at a cost of around £3.5 million.
It is intended to address overcrowding, with more than 100 residents already living on 28 permanent residential pitches at Shepherds Hill.
The LDP was adopted at an extraordinary full council meeting held on Tuesday December 3 and which will shape the future of development across Torfaen.
CwmNAG members have held meetings, protests and demonstrations over the issue.
They have been supported by Cwmynyscoy Ward councillor Neil Waite throughout their campaign.
Cllr Waite said: “It’s disappointing for the ward. We are probably the most deprived area in the borough and it’s another step backwards. Even the gypsies at Shepherd’s Hill voiced opposition to the plan. But the decision went against us and now we have to live with it.”
To get in touch with the CwmNAG campaign group email CwmNAG@yahoo.co.uk
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