A NEWPORT man says his Welsh Romany Gypsy family can get on with their lives after a planning committee voted to let them stay at their home permanently.

A majority of Newport Council planning councillors agreed Hendry and Pat Price’s site, Coal Pit Lane, Castleton, could have planning permission. An alternative plan for them to have temporary permission for three years – backed by Michaelston-y-Fedw Community Council and the Marshfield ward councillor – was rejected by the committee.

Hendry Price, who officers warned could be made homeless if permission wasn’t granted, said: “My biggest concern was the sleepless nights coming if it went wrong – where would we go? I’m very overwhelmed. My family can amend the things we need to do and we can carry on with our lives without being in more stress.”

The committee heard the site causes considerable risks to highway safety on the rural Coal Pit Lane. However Mr Price has agreed to put in a new access to the site which officers say will have improved visibility.

Sean Cullen, who had submitted objections on behalf of the Michaelstone-y-Fedw Community Council and residents, said the site wasn’t suitable for long term residential use and temporary permission was only granted in very exceptional circumstances. He said a planning inspector had indicated, in granting temporary permission, that permanent permission wasn’t acceptable. The council had backed temporary permission as a maximum.

However David Williams, on behalf of the Prices, said: “The family are trying to provide their own site without imposing their accommodation need on the authority, which could easily cost the council £50,000.”

Mark Hand, head of planning, said the local development plan process, which is looking at three possible gypsy sites, does not take into account the needs of the Coal Pit Lane family. Committee member Cllr Richard White, whose Marshfield ward covers Coal Pit Lane, said he understood the family came from Cardiff which is looking for more gypsy sites.

He said: “Wouldn’t it be sensible to wait until those sites are implemented?”

But a council officer said the Cardiff LDP process couldn’t address the capital’s own needs “nevermind anyone else’s”. Cllr White’s proposal for temporary permission of three years failed – three votes to four. The recommendation to grant conditional planning permission passed five votes to one.