A ‘TRANSIT’ site for gypsies and travellers passing through the area is needed to avoid unauthorised encampments such as the one that recently took over Chepstow Leisure Centre car park. 

That is what the councillor responsible for housing in Monmouthshire told council members in response to concern at the occupation of the car park, next to the town’s secondary school, during the Easter holidays. 

Councillor Sara Burch (Welsh Lab, Cantref), cabinet member for communities, said the council will review its 2015 protocol for how it responds to unauthorised encampments, but said it also believes a new site served by the M4 motorway is required. 

Chepstow St Kingsmark councillor Christopher Edwards (Con)outlined alleged thefts and anti-social behaviour, ranging from verbal abuse to BBQs, while it was occupied by travellers.

He told the council’s April meeting: “I appreciate it’s not all traveller communities behave in this way... but Chepstow has suffered from the worst of this.”

He asked what steps the council would take in future to prevent the “crucial and busy car park” from being “used and abused” in this way, and said the council has “a duty of care to residents, school and council staff to ensure this doesn’t happen again”.

Cllr Burch said there was no authorised public site along the M4 corridor, added: “We will look at where barriers are appropriate and push for the development of a regional transit site on the M4 corridor and bring forward sites for permanent pitches for local traveller families and review the protocol established in 2015.”