A GROUP backed by a former Newport council cabinet member and councillor says there are alternatives to the city's controversial proposed Gipsy sites.

David Hando, who lost his Beechwood seat in the 2012 council elections, had been one of the members of the former Tory and Lib Dem administration involved in the drawing up of a controversial list of Gipsy sites that was dropped by Labour.

Mr Hando is a trustee of the Newport Traveller Sites Study Group, which has supported calls for proposed sites at Ringland Allotments and land at Hartridge Farm Road to be deleted from the local development plan.

Instead the group proposes a number of alternatives - including that the traveller family living at a site in Goldcliff should be allowed to stay there.

A submission to the planning inspector, written by Mr Hando on behalf of the group, says: “It appears that no thought was given to allowing travellers to stay where they have become established.”

It proposes that the larger family at Tatton Road should be relocated to the former Speedway site.

“Being at the end of a cul-de-sac it would disturb no one and is favoured by the police,” wrote Mr Hando. “It is also strongly favoured by the travellers who don’t want to be right alongside residents and schools.”

It adds that if no way can be found for the family at the Transporter Bridge site to remain undisturbed, they should be relocated to Tatton Road.

“If the proposed sites do not find favour there are alternatives each side of the river, or as suggested above, the sites where they are presented settled should be considered for development.”

Newport should speak to neighbouring authorities to discuss a joint transit site along the M4 corridor, the group adds.

Mr Hando was involved in the selection of five possible sites – which included Yew Tree Cottage, Bettws – when he was cabinet member for social services and housing.

Those sites were dropped by the succeeding Labour administration.

Former Lib Dem councillor Mr Hando, who himself lives in Hartridge, wrote the sites had been selected with no political considerations and were the most suitable or least unsuitable sites.

He raised concerns that the proposals for a residential site at Hartridge Farm Road would have an effect on the willingness of parents to send their children to Llanwern High School and Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd

Mr Hando wrote the potentially valuable Pwll Pen site would also become unattractive to developers and purchasers.

The planning inspector is to hold a hearing into the local development plan's allocation for gipsies and travellers on April 8 at 10am.