THE Welsh Government has called for a transit site for Gypsy and traveller families in Newport after £64,000 was spent cleaning an unauthorised site.

In January last year, smashed up caravans, rubbish bags, human waste, and other items were left strewn on Government-owned land at Tatton Road, Newport.

Travellers had moved onto the land with the permission of the Welsh Government while Newport council found a residential site to accommodate them in the long-term. 

But another family who did not have permission to access the site also moved onto the land, with the Welsh Government blaming them for the rubbish left.

A Freedom of Information request has now revealed £64,405 was spent clearing the site, and included paying six security guards to be present.

A permanent site for Gypsy and traveller families with links to Newport has since been identified at Ellen Ridge, in Hartidge Farm Road, Ringland, with the Welsh Government providing funding.

Archaeological ruins were found there last year, but work has now begun on the site.

And the Welsh Government is now also encouraging Newport council to identify a suitable transit site for families passing through.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and travellers and meet any needs identified. Providing official sites of a good standard helps to reduce the number of illegal encampments.

“A Gypsy and traveller accommodation assessment was approved by Welsh Ministers in November 2016, confirming that Newport Council has an identified need for residential and transit sites in the area.

“The Welsh Government is currently providing funding for the development of the Ellen Ridge residential site in Newport. The project is ongoing and will help to accommodate some families with links to the area. 

“We are also encouraging Newport Council to identify a transit site and apply for Welsh Government Gypsy and Traveller Sites Capital Grant funding before 2021 to ensure nomadic families can access appropriate transit facilities rather than resort to encampments.”