Posted: Sun 20th Mar 2016

Pause And Review On Gypsy And Traveller Sites In Anglesey

This article is old - Published: Sunday, Mar 20th, 2016

A decision on the location of gypsy and traveller sites on Anglesey will be postponed as the County Council reviews significant feedback received during its recent consultation ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The election period for the National Assembly for Wales and Police and Crime Commissioners begins on Monday (March 21st), and is another factor which has led Council officials to pause before making recommendations on this contentious issue. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Anglesey’s Executive will not make a decision on the location of a permanent residential site, proposed for the south of the island, until after the elections on May 5th 2016. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A decision on temporary stopping places – in both the centre of the island and Holyhead area – is likely to take longer, with new information received during the consultation raising questions about the suitability of some of the sites currently under consideration. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The response from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation has raised issues about the safety of locating a site for gypsies and travellers near an active airstrip in Mona, and officials will be asked to explore other options for a temporary stopping place in the centre of the island. Similar concerns about health and safety have been raised about the suitability of other possible sites, including the site near Alpoco in Holyhead. The response from Dŵr Cymru has clearly indicated that there would be difficulties relating to the cost of providing utility services to the Gaerwen small holding site since the proposed site is located on the opposite side of the A55 to the existing services ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Anglesey Chief Executive, Dr Gwynne Jones, explained, “When our consultation was launched last month I clearly stated that feedback from residents, communities and businesses around the proposed sites would be vital in helping us reach an informed decision. We’ve received a great deal of feedback, not only from residents, local businesses and partners, but also from both traveller and gypsy communities as well.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Some of what we now know will, undoubtedly, impact on the suitability of some of the sites we’ve proposed, which means we will have to look again for other possible sites. This will, of course, set the process back and we’ll need to conduct a fresh consultation on temporary stopping places later in the year.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Council Leader Ieuan Williams commented that, “It’s vital that we take time to consider and evaluate the many responses we’ve received to make sure we get these important decisions right.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, Anglesey County Council is legally required to assess and meet the accommodation needs of the Gypsy and Traveller Communities. Over recent months, work has been carried out to identify possible locations for gypsy and traveller sites on the island. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Public drop-in sessions were recently held in communities where sites are being considered. The Council also met with town and community councils. These events gave residents, businesses and local representatives an opportunity to find out more about potential sites and have their say about their suitability. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Once sites have been selected they will be put forward for inclusion within the Local Development Plan, and planning permission for site development will also need to be obtained. Authorised sites will be managed by the local authority or a body they appoint, with site rules clearly established and enforced. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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