Search for new gypsy sites will continue after council policy examined
1:00pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
THE search will continue for potential gypsy traveller sites, with land next to Kingsmoor Common being acquired by the county council, it was resolved at an extraordinary meeting last week.
An extraordinary meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council was held to discuss two policies in the Local Development Plan relating to gypsy traveller planning matters.
The meeting was called by Councillor Jacob Williams following the planning inspector’s decision to overturn refusal of a gypsy pitch with hard standing and a utility/day room on land near Clayford Road, Wooden, Saundersfoot.
Cllr Williams was backed by Cllrs Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, Tessa Hodgson and Gwilym Price.
Cllr Williams said that the inspector’s statement that “the harm of the proposed development in an agricultural field in the open countryside” was outweighed by the council’s “ongoing failure of policy to deliver sites” meant the matter must be considered urgently.
The inspector stated in his decision report that the development would result in “urbanisation” in a rural area “reaching a point where it would have a negative impact on landscape character” and a “moderate adverse impact”.
Cllr Williams said there was a “very real potential for the council’s policy shortcomings to tip the balance in favour of similar appeals being allowed in the future”.
Cllrs Williams, Hodgson and Price spoke at the meeting, calling for the loophole in policy to be addressed.
Leader Cllr Jamie Adams said the authority had a duty under law to provide sites for gypsy travellers and that was taken with “diligence”.
“It’s incumbent on us all to accept the human rights of all those in society,” he added.
These views were echoed by Cllrs Sue Perkins and Pearl Llewellyn, who both spoke of their experiences with gypsy travellers.
“The gypsy community have a right to have a place to live,” said Cllr Perkins. “I think we should be very careful about saying gypsies may move in like they are different to everyone else.”
Members approved three recommendations, which include the council continuing to search for potential gypsy traveller sites and acquiring land next to Kingsmoor Common by agreement or by using compulsory purchase powers.
Progress reports will be presented to full council in October and December.