Challenge set for Torfaen Gipsy site plan
4:00pm Monday 30th July 2012 in News
A TORFAEN councillor will mount a challenge tomorrow at the full council meeting about the recent cabinet decision to expand Gipsy and Traveller sites in the borough.
Cwmynyscoy Neighbourhood Action Group (CwmNAG) have the support of their local councillor Neil Waite, who will be challenging the decision, to allow more caravan sites in Cwmynyscoy.
Chair of CwmNAG, Adrian Bold, said: "The people of Cwmynyscoy are appalled that their ward is proposed to be the only area of Torfaen to have Gipsy and Traveller accommodation with over 100 caravans in Upper and Lower Race and none anywhere else.
"There are concerns that this high concentration of caravans will cause significant problems and CwmNAG believes that it is time that Torfaen council listened to the settled residents of Cwmynyscoy and properly and independently assessed the impact of these proposals upon the ward and the Pontypool area."
Cabinet members approved proposals for a £3.6 million expansion of the existing site based around the Shepherd’s Hill site in Pontypool.
Plans would also see part of the unused Race football pitch being used to accommodate further caravan pitches, and the privately owned Rose Cottage site would provide ten additional pitches to help alleviate Gipsy and Traveller housing needs.
Cllr Waite is challenging the decision for a number of reasons, including CwmNAG not being given sufficient time to respond to the council report about the expansion proposals of the site.
He will also tell Torfaen council that the objection to the inadequacy of the assessment of anti-social impacts was not taken into account properly and that Welsh Assembly guidelines are being ignored.
Mr Bold added: "It seems there might be a hidden agenda here - which keeps a difficult problem confined in a poor area of Torfaen and away from richer and more scenic parts of the borough. "It is likely that no settled resident in Torfaen wants a Traveller camp near them, including councillors, so there is an intention to concentrate caravans in one area and to ignore the resulting plight of the settled residents there.
"The people of Cwmynyscoy have lived alongside the Gipsy and Traveller community for many years. They know the social problems this brings and have tolerated them.
"But a significant increase in caravans will bring further issues making life much more difficult for the community."