A DEADLINE for people to have their say on potential Gypsy Traveller sites in Monmouthshire is looming. 

Ahead of the deadline for comments closing on Friday, December 22 Monmouth MP David Davies said: “The location of authorised and unauthorised traveller sites is a legitimate matter for public debate and scrutiny, which is why it is so important for residents to know about this consultation and make sure they have their say”. 

Monmouthshire County Council has identified three pieces of land, which could each be used for up to six pitches, for permanent authorised Gypsy, Traveller sites for residents who it has assessed as having a need for housing in the county. 

Those are at Oak Grove Farm, Crick on the B4245 approximately a mile from the edge of Caldicot; Bradbury Farm, Crick situated directly off Crick Road; and at Langley Close, Magor with access off St Brides Road and with residential homes to its south and the M4 to the north. All are currently part of the county’s farm estates

But Mr Davies, who was criticised for leaflets he distributed this summer during an earlier phase of the council’s search for potential sites but which Gwent Police said it would take no action over, has highlighted opposition to all potential sites. 

The Conservative who is also the UK Government’s Welsh Secretary said: “Langley Close, which is next to the M4, has been questioned by both the public and councillors about the health impacts of potential air pollution. It is also very close to existing homes. 

“Indeed, feedback from the Gypsy Traveller community was they did not wish to be sited in close proximity to built-up areas.” 

He also said as the council’s development plan could also pave the way for up to 735 new homes, as well as others already planned for, east of Caldicot the area could be “over-developed”. 

He said: “The sites proposed at Bradbury Farm and Oak Grove Farm are inappropriate due to the volume of houses that have already been built and the 750 to 1,400 houses Portskewett could be allocated in the future, risking its identity as a village. It’s all too much in an area that is becoming overdeveloped.” 

Portskewett Conservative councillor Lisa Dymock, who has registered an e-petition with Monmouthshire County Council calling on the sites to be withdrawn, said she was is worried about road safety. 

“The two locations in Portskewett are located on 50mph roads with blind bends. The B4245 is dangerous to pull out on, let alone walk along,” she said. 

“I do not think they are suitable for the Gypsy Traveller community or for development of any kind. There are no safe routes to access local amenities and children will not be able to safely walk to school.” 

Monmouthshire council has previously said if taken forward the Gypsy Traveller sites would be developed alongside new housing earmarked for the area which would also deliver road safety improvements. 

The council, which has staged information events since starting the consultation in November, has said when the information is collected it will be considered by the cabinet which will decide which sites should be included in the replacement local development plan. 

That plan, which sets out how land across the county should be used for housing and employment through to 2033, will then be subject to further consultation and there would also be consultations held as part of any planning applications for Gypsy Traveller sites which would still have to be made in the usual way. 

Further information is available on the council’s website at www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/housing/gypsy-and-travellers/gypsy-and-traveller-sites-consultation/ or by clicking here to go to the council's website.