Land at Pen­hes­gyn and Star is nom­i­nated

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Gaerth Wyn Wil­liams

A FULL plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion is to be sub­mit­ted for An­gle­sey’s first of­fi­cial gypsy and trav­eller sites.

Dur­ing a be­hind-closed­doors dis­cus­sion of the coun­cil’s Ex­ec­u­tive on Mon­day morn­ing, it was agreed that plans for a tem­po­rary stop­ping place at Star near Gaer­wen and a per­ma­nent site at Pen­hes­gyn, near Me­nai Bridge, can now pro­ceed fully af­ter an ini­tial screen­ing ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged ear­lier this year.

Hous­ing port­fo­lio holder, Cllr Alun Mum­mery, said: “Like ev­ery other lo­cal author­ity in Wales, we are legally obliged to meet the ac­com­mo­da­tion needs of both Gypsy and Trav­eller Com­mu­ni­ties.

“To­day’s de­ci­sion to sub­mit a de­tailed plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for both sites comes af­ter months of hard work and rep­re­sents an­other im­por­tant step for­ward in ful­fill­ing this duty.”

The pro­pos­als have not proved to be uni­ver­sally pop­u­lar how­ever, with sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns be­ing raised over the suit­abil­ity of Pen­hes­gyn - just yards away from one of the is­land’s two re­cy­cling cen­tres.

Res­i­dents near Star have also sought a meet­ing with coun­cil of­fi­cers to ex­plain the plans in more de­tail, which has also been agreed.

The site at Pen­hes­gyn is ear­marked to house “New age trav­ellers” cur­rently liv­ing in a makeshift camp on the A5025 near Pen­traeth, which has been “tol­er­ated” by coun­cil of­fi­cers for many years.

But while the res­i­dents do not cur­rently pay any rent, they will be ex­pected to do so at the new fa­cil­i­ties, that will boast four pitches in all.

An­gle­sey’s Head of Hous­ing Shan Lloyd Wil­liams said: “There are cur­rently no of­fi­cial sites for Gyp­sies and Trav­ellers on An­gle­sey. This has led to reg­u­lar unau­tho­rised en­camp­ments, which have caused ten­sions in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and neg­a­tive per­cep­tions of the Gypsy and Trav­eller com­mu­nity.

“Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions on these pro­posed sites at­tracted sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal op­po­si­tion, but this alone can­not be used as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for not choos­ing par­tic­u­lar sites.

“In com­ing to our rec­om­men­da­tions, we have tried to bal­ance the County Coun­cil’s le­gal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the Hous­ing Act 2014 as well as the needs of lo­cal res­i­dents.”

Ac­cord­ing to the author­ity, both sites have al­ready been the sub­ject of de­tailed de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions – in­clud­ing air qual­ity, noise, ecol­ogy and flood risk as­sess­ments - fol­low­ing a site se­lec­tion process and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion car­ried out in 2016.

The Star site will be ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing up to 10 car­a­vans, ex­pected to be used by trav­ellers on their way to and from Ire­land.

The plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions will in­clude a Site Man­age­ment Strat­egy, which sets out terms and con­di­tions for both per­ma­nent and tem­po­rary use of the sites. Ac­cord­ing to the author­ity, this would al­low them to take en­force­ment ac­tion against any unau­tho­rised en­camp­ments else­where on the is­land.

A coun­cil spokesman added that Ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers will con­sider de­tailed fund­ing for these projects at a later date, if plan­ning per­mis­sion is ap­proved and a Welsh Gov­ern­ment grant to­wards the cost of the work is au­tho­rised.

This land at Pen­hes­gyn near the re­cy­cling cen­tre has been set aside for a per­ma­nent trav­eller park

Plans for a per­ma­nent trav­ellers site at Pen­hes­gyn can now be sub­mit­ted

Cllr Alun Mum­mery

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