PROPOSED gypsy and traveller pitches in Monmouth and Mitchel Troy have been dropped by council leaders, following public meetings of concerned residents and feedback from the local authority's own scrutiny committee.
A decision on selecting potential sites for 13 new pitches across Monmouthshire has also been deferred following Wednesday's (July 26) county council Cabinet meeting, to allow more consideration.
Monmouthshire Council-owned sites on Mitchel Troy Common and Manson Heights in Monmouth, which were shortlisted for consultation, have now been deemed unsuitable, due to access and other issues, while sites in Magor and Undy require more investigation to ascertain their suitability for any future development.
Monmouthshire has an assessed need for 13 long term pitches for gypsy and traveller households to be included in the county's Local Development Plan, along with land allocations for new homes and employment sites.
As no proposals have come from the gypsy and traveller community or from local landowners to date, the council has again appealed for owners of potential sites to come forward, as well as calling on county residents to propose potential sites.
In tandem with this appeal, it is continuing to explore appropriate sites on council-owned land.
Councillor Sara Burch (Labour, Cantref, Abergavenny), Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities, said: “We have an obligation to provide a very small number of pitches as part of our renewed commitment to providing affordable housing in Monmouthshire.
"I am grateful to the members of the scrutiny committee and to councillors from all parties who engaged in the shortlisting process.
"We are committed to providing successful small sites where members of the gypsy and traveller community can settle, work, and send their children to school.”
But she added: “It has become clear the sites at Manson Heights and Mitchell Troy are not suitable and I’m not proposing to consult on them.”
Cllr Burch said she wasn’t intending to look again at 17 sites that had produced the original shortlist, with most ruled out as they are amenity land, but wanted to keep the proposed Langley Close site near the M4 in Magor and land west of Dancing Hill in Undy under consideration.
Magor West councillor Frances Taylor, who leads the council’s Independent group, said by keeping the Magor and Undy sites , Cllr Burch wasn’t following the scrutiny committee’s recommendation to ditch all the proposed sites, and the work should start again.
The council has confirmed that there will be a consultation process launched when sites have been identified for inclusion in the Replacement Local Development Plan.
Before any site can be built planning permission will need to be secured, and there will be consultation with potential residents and the local community at every stage.
The definition of a pitch is a site that should be capable of accommodating an amenity block, a mobile home, a touring caravan and parking for two vehicles.