NEWPORT’S pitch allocation policy for Gypsy Traveller sites could change after it was found to be ‘no longer meeting its intended aims’.

The existing policy, adopted by Newport City Council in 2016, was used to allocate people to the Ellen Ridge site in Hartridge, which is currently under development.

A needs-based banding system places an applicant into one of four bands based upon their circumstances. But officers have said the policy is failing to allocate pitches to those in greatest need.

“The housing situation within the city is such that the council and its partners need to ensure that social housing within the city is allocated to applicants in the greatest needs,” the report reads.

“As such, pitches will only be allocated to applications who are able to demonstrate an aversion to living in bricks and mortar accommodation.”

The proposed amendment gives priority to applicants with a disability or health problem, with additional priority given to overcrowded households and families with dependent children.

Gypsies and Irish Travellers living in housing, or with a history of living in bricks and mortar, could still apply so long as they demonstrate their aversion to the accommodation.

But applicants with a preference for caravan pitches would be allocated traditional housing under the council’s common housing allocations policy.

Gareth Price, the council’s monitoring officer, said in the report: “The revised Gypsy and Traveller Site allocations policy provides a fair and transparent process for ensuring that caravan pitches are allocated to those in the greatest need, whilst meeting the council’s statutory responsibilities towards gypsy and travellers, as a recognised ethnic group, under the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.”

Labour councillor Jane Mudd, cabinet member -for regeneration and housing, is expected to sign off on the changes next week.