Newport gypsy sites plan gets the go-ahead
9:23am Friday 20th December 2013 in News
NEWPORT councillors gave the green light to a contentious plan to build three gypsy sites in the city in a council meeting held yesterday.
Councillors voted that the Local Development Plan, which sets out sites for planning until 2026, will now go to the Welsh Government for approval.
Of the members, 29 voted in favour, ten voted against and six abstained.
Cllr John Richards, cabinet member for regeneration and development, said the plan was “fundamental” to the city’s development in the future.
Two women in the public gallery voiced their discontent.
One shouted “shocking” while another asked: “Where do you live?”
In a heated meeting, mayor of Newport Cllr Cliff Suller appealed for people to stop shouting out from the public gallery three times and threatened people with removal if they were not quiet.
When the vote had been passed, people walked out of the council chamber.
One man said “see you in court” and a woman shouted “you haven’t served Newport”.
An amendment by Ringland councillor Emma Corten, which asked for the Hartridge Farm Road site to be removed from the plan, failed to be supported by councillors.
She said the site, which would have had 43 pitches, was “far too big” and that her objections were “absolutely not based on Nimby-ism”.
She said the council should focus on providing an “actually deliverable site”.
Cllr Bob Bright, the leader of the council, supported the amendment. He said “5,800 people cannot be wrong,” referring to the number of signatories on petitions against that site.
He said he felt a “feeling of unease” supporting the plan.
But only 15 councillors supported the amendment.
The city council is obliged by the Housing Act 2004 to build the sites.
But council officers said it had more than 14,000 signatories on petitions objecting to three gypsy sites.
The other two smaller sites at Celtic Way near Duffryn and the Ringland allotments were also passed.
In the plan the council said it expects about 10,350 new homes and 7,400 new jobs to be brought to the city by 2026.
And it expects to build 2,500 affordable homes as part of 8,900 that are planned in that time.
Earlier this week, it was revealed schools and businesses had objected to the proposed gypsy sites in Newport.
Tata Steel, the owner of the Llanwern steelworks, voiced their concern and said the Hartridge Farm Road residential site would be significantly bigger than what Welsh guidelines allow.
In November consultants who had been commissioned by the Ringland Matters group who were opposed to the plans for Hartridge Farm Road said the proposed site’s size was the “most obvious conflict”.
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