BAR­RI­CADE UP TO KEEP SITE CLEAR

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - JAMES MCCARTHY Re­porter james.mccarthy@waleson­line.co.uk

ATRAVELLERS’ site that be­came a fly-tip­ping hotspot has been cleared up and se­cured with a makeshift moat. The road and sur­round­ing fields were left cov­ered with vast amounts of tyres, white goods and lit­ter, plus wrecked and aban­doned car­a­vans.

After months of se­cu­rity pa­trols most of the lit­ter has been cleared from the Tat­ton Road site in New­port.

The site has been se­cured by two rows of large con­crete blocks, re­sem­bling enor­mous Lego bricks. Be­tween them is a row of huge mill­stones.

Be­hind those a four-foot deep ditch has been dug across the road. Fill­ing with rain­fall, it has be­come like a moat.

If any­one gets past that they’ll strug­gle to get a car­a­van over the mud em­bank­ment be­hind it.

“The site has been se­cured and cleared for the pur­poses of re­de­vel­op­ing the land to stim­u­late eco­nomic and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the New­port area,” a Welsh Gov­ern­ment spokesman said.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment, which owns the land, re­fused to re­veal the cost to the tax­payer of clean­ing up the site.

But it has been es­ti­mated at “hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds”.

New­port coun­cil­lor Al­lan Mor­ris rep­re­sents the area.

“It’s been a night­mare from the very first day,” he said.

“We were not con­sulted as coun­cil­lors when they went there. It’s cost an ab­so­lute for­tune. It was ill thought-through.”

Trav­ellers were granted “tol­er­ated” sta­tus by the Welsh Gov­ern­ment after be­ing moved to the site in 2012.

“It’s been one prob­lem an­other,” Coun Mor­ris said.

“The fam­i­lies liv­ing there ini­tially were not the prob­lem. It was the peo­ple who came from afar and were pitched up out­side. after

“That is when the prob­lems be­gan. It’s cost an ab­so­lute for­tune to se­cure the premises.

“I would like to see the place cleared up and used for in­dus­try for the cre­ation of jobs and wealth.”

The politi­cian said “an aw­ful lot of jobs” could have been cre­ated with the cash that had been spent clear­ing up the site.

“There was no con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity when they ar­rived – the Welsh Gov­ern­ment didn’t feel it had to,” Coun Mor­ris said.

“It all hap­pened overnight, de­spite protes­ta­tions.

“A cou­ple of years later hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds have been spent. It’s a lit­tle bit ir­ri­tat­ing, to say the least.

“They’ve been a huge drain on re­sources at a time when lo­cal gov­ern­ment needs every penny.”

Coun Mor­ris recog­nised trav­ellers “have got to live some­where”.

“They are not all bad and many are as ir­ri­tated by the mess left as the rest of us. But it is those who leave places in that way that give ev­ery­one a bad name.”

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