Council plans ahead for Gypsy and Traveller sites

Plans are to be submitted for two gypsy and traveller sites – the first of their kind on Anglesey.

Councillors agreed on Monday to submit applications for a permanent residential site for New Age travellers near Penhesgyn and a transit site in Star.

The permanent site will provide four pitches for a community that currently lives in a layby next to the A5025 between Menai Bridge and Pentraeth, while up to ten caravans will be able to use the temporary stop. A public consultation was held last year after a selection process.

Anglesey Council says both earmarked sites have already been carefully considered – but it has offered to meet with local residents from Star next week to discuss the transit site after they requested a meeting.

All local authorities across Wales are legally required to provide accommodation for Gypsy and Traveller communities under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, but there are currently no official sites on the island.

Shan Lloyd Williams, the head of housing at Anglesey Council, said the lack of official sites had led to unauthorised camps, which had caused tensions in local communities. She added: ”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. As a county council, we will continue to work towards fostering better understanding and addressing prejudice towards the Gypsy and Traveller communities.”

Councillor Alan Mummery said: ”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.”

Proposals for two temporary stops at Cyttir Road and Tyddyn Lantern Farm in Holyhead were rejected last July, but the council agreed to examine the Star site further, despite concerns from residents.

If planning permission is given, the set up of official sites would also allow the council to take enforcement action against unauthorised camps elsewhere on Anglesey. The council will also seek a Welsh Government grant before it considers funding for the project.