9:10am Friday 22nd June 2012
By Natalie Crockett
GIPSIES have moved onto Newport’s vacant Megabowl site.
Landowners Johnsey Estates said the group, living in five caravans, set up the camp in its car park on June 1 and do not have permission to be there.
The firm says they have asked the group, who appear to have barricaded themselves into the site with rubble and road signs, to move on every day since they moved in and have also requested help from Gwent Police.
A spokeswoman for Johnsey Estates claimed the men, women and children living there had been using the surrounding area as a toilet and the council’s environmental health team had been informed.
She added the firm was in the process of obtaining a court order to get the group removed from the site, next to the Peugeot car dealership.
The derelict bowling alley has been empty since 2005 and several schemes to bring it back into use have so far failed to get off the ground.
Earlier plans by the developer aiming to turn it into a supermarket were ditched last year in favour of creating a retail centre called Mega Centre, expected to bring around 400 jobs, but it has yet to get started.
When asked if the Gipsy’s presence on the site was threatening any future plan Johnsey Estates said: "Not at present."
Newport does not currently have designated Gipsy and traveller sites, but plans are being drawn up for up to five sites in Lliswerry, Marshfield and Bettws.
In March we reported how the Welsh Government allowed Gipsies to move to an unauthorised site on Tatton Road in a bid to house people from the Gipsy and traveller community in the absence of authorised sites.
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