Local News & Archive — February 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm — Updated: February 17, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Councils join forces to plan travellers’ sites


Smithy Layby

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Conwy and Denbighshire county councils are set to join forces in a fresh bid to develop transit sites for gypsies and travellers.

The two local authorites say they will look at a regional approach in developing dedicated sites following a joint assessment into gypsy and travellers’ accommodation.

Currently, Denbighshire has no authorised site – and last year, Conwy councillors threw out plans for turning the Smithy Layby at St George into a transit area, amid opposition from local residents. The Travellers Movement said some of the residents’ objections had demonized Welsh gypsies.

Three years ago, an assessment called for the two counties to share one site because of the high number of unauthorised camps set up, particularly in the border area in north Denbighshire. Earlier this week, a group of eleven caravans set up camp at a car park on Quay Street in Rhyl but police have not taken action.

Denbighshire’s lead member for communities, Councillor Hugh Irving, said: ”The latest assessment has revealed a clear need for a transit site or sites or stopping place…and under the Housing (Wales) Act, the council will be required to address this need. The need for any future provision of sites is a regional issue, given the movement of gypsies and travellers in North Wales and the limited Welsh Government funding available for sites.”

The cabinet at Conwy County Council is due to discuss the findings at Bodlondeb later this month, when the report will also be passed onto the Welsh Government.

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