Newport gipsy site deal blocked - council
Updated 12:52pm Friday 4th April 2014 in News
THE Welsh Government is not willing to hand over a site in the west of Newport to be used as a transit Gipsy and traveller site.
That’s according to a document submitted to the planning inspector by Newport council, which suggests compulsory purchasing of the site at Celtic Way, Coedkernew, could be an option.
Newport council has set aside £1.3 million from its budget to fund Gipsy and traveller site developments in the city, should Welsh Government funding not cover them.
The inspector is set to consider the inclusion in the local development plan (LDP) of a residential site at Hartridge Farm Road, a transit site at Celtic Way and a back-up site at Ringland Allotments at a hearing on Tuesday.
According to the document, the proposed transit site at Celtic Way is on land owned by the Welsh Government.
“Discussion with regard to transferring the site to Newport City Council has taken place, however at present the Welsh Government land division has indicated that it is not a willing landowner,” the document reads.
“The option of compulsory purchase could be explored.”
Officers of the Welsh Government land division have suggested that crown land cannot be subject to a compulsory purchase order, the document reads.
It would be up to the Assembly, rather than the Welsh Government, to designate it as such.
The submission adds that if Celtic Way can’t be developed then the back-up Ringland Allotment sites would be used as a transit site.
The Welsh Government had previously objected to the Celtic Way proposal in the council’s LDP, saying it would result in the loss of valuable employment land.
Newport council had said that the proposal is intended to provide an official, managed and controlled transit site.
The authority also told the planning inspector that it has set aside funding in its capital budget for the next four years should Welsh Government grants not be sufficient to build the site.
A capital budget document from February shows the authority has earmarked £1.3 million to be spent in 2014/15.
Under the current timetable, the LDP is not expected to be adopted until December.
In a submission to the inspector, the council states that it intends to seek Welsh Government grant funding for delivering the sites, and that it had been confirmed that up to £1.5 million per site can be awarded.
However, the Welsh Government confirmed to the Argus that there is only £1.5 million in its Gipsy and traveller site budget available in 2014/15 for the whole of Wales.
According to the document to the inspector, the existing use of the road safety centre site, where the residential site is planned with 43 pitches, would have to cease.
The authority is obliged under the Housing Act to identify and address the need in its area for Gipsy and traveller sites.
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