A NUMBER of travellers have set up camp in Newport on an unauthorised site.
The travellers arrived at Hartridge Farm Road in Ringland on Wednesday evening.
John Jackson, road safety officer at the Road Safety Centre at Hartridge Farm Road, said: “Somebody broke the lock off the gate. There are 10 to 15 vans dotted all over the place.”
Bikers who arrived for motorcycle training on Thursday morning had to be turned away as they couldn’t use the track.
Mr Jackson said: “I don’t know how long they are going to be here. Ten years ago when they came here they stayed about three days.”
Hartridge Farm Road is one of the three gipsy and traveller sites being considered in the council’s local development plan (LDP). At a recent hearing examining the LDP, Ringland residents vehemently voiced their concerns about the Hartridge site, saying travellers would not be safe there given the levels of anti-social behaviour in the Ringland area.
Former councillor, David Hando, a trustee of the Newport Traveller Sites Study Group and a resident of Ringland said: “They’ve got to go somewhere and the problem is Newport City council turned its back on the problem. There is always going to be a problem of illegal sites until there are legal ones. The problem is what they have chosen as potential legal sites are totally unsuitable.
The Hartridge farm site is between two schools and should it go ahead, would mean the closure for the Road Safety Centre. The centre is used by many school children as it is part of Llanwern Comprehensive School’s curriculum.
Mr Hando added: “The hope is the council will listen to what the inspector says when he produces his report.” The inspector’s report on the LDP is due later this year.
Gwent Police confirmed they were made aware of the travellers at around 8pm on Wednesday night, but no action was taken.
A spokeswoman said Newport council is aware that there are travellers at Hartridge Farm Road and it is an unauthorised encampment.
She added: “Council officers visited the site on Thursday morning. An assessment will be carried out and notice given that we expect them to move in the next few days. If they fail to move then the council will take enforcement action.”