THOUSANDS of objections to proposed Gipsy sites are being trawled through by council officers after a consultation period closed yesterday.

The Argus understands that Newport council staff are to work through the weekend to read all of the letters and petitions ahead of a meeting of the group that has drawn up the longlist of proposals next week.

It was hoped the group would make recommendations for a shortlist this month but that may be delayed by the sheer volume of responses that need to be considered.

At least 5,800 letters and petition signatures have been submitted from the wards of Langstone, Llanwern and Marshfield, and a final tally has yet to be published.

The group of councillors is set to start work on a shortlist from the longlist of the proposals.

There was some criticism yesterday about the shortness of the 28-day consultation.

Llanwern councillor Martyn Kellaway said he knew of two community councils that either had not planned to meet during the consultation period or did not meet until late into the process.

However Cllr Paul Hannon, a member of the group, said the period had been reasonable and said 6,000 responses “was not a bad effort”.

He said the group had been looking at reporting back to the council scrutiny committee for community planning and development towards the end of October.

It would be then down to the committee to agree the recommendation to the cabinet member responsible – thought to be Mark Whitcutt, the councillor responsible for human resources and assets.

The group is working on the assumption that the shortlist would go into the local development plan, which sets out over a number of years future development proposals in Newport and which would have to be in place early next year.

But ultimately it will be down to the committee to sign off whatever is recommended to the cabinet member, and for the cabinet member to make a final decision.

The local development plan, which will have to have a permanent residential site and a transit site, would itself be subject to further consultation once it is submitted to the Welsh Government.