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Monmouthshire’s possible Gypsy Traveller sites dropped

Land at Langley Close Magor Monmouthshire council has identified as potentially suitable for a Gypsy Traveller site (Pic: Monmouthshire County Council)

PLANS for possible Gypsy Traveller sites in two rural areas of Monmouthshire are being dropped, but those near the M4 could still be taken forward. 

The decision not to consider sites at Mitchell Troy Common and Manson Heights – land which was once a former isolation hospital – was announced by Cllr Sara Burch at the county council’s cabinet meeting, where it was originally intended to agree starting a consultation on up to five sites. 

A council scrutiny committee last week called for the Labour-led cabinet to withdraw all the sites it was considering consulting on, for 13 permanent pitches, as it said they were unsuitable and weren’t supported by local residents or the Gypsy Traveller community. 

Cllr Sara Birch

Cllr Burch, cabinet member for communities, had then told the full council she would issue an update at the Wednesday, July 26, cabinet meeting, and this evening confirmed the Mitchell Troy and Manson Heights sites would no longer be considered. 

But Langley Close near to the M4 in Magor and land west of Dancing Hill in Undy will remain on the table so the council can further investigate if they are suitable “for any development”. 

Cllr Burch said the report, which had been recommending the council start consulting on the sites, was now being pushed back to September with the intention the council look at sites in Magor and Undy and any others that come forward following an appeal for potential sites. The intention would be then for the cabinet to consult on them before putting forward the identified sites in the Local Development Plan, which sets out where all new developments should be located, in November. 

The Abergavenny Cantref councillor said: “It has become clear the sites at Manson Heights and Mitchell Troy are not suitable and I’m not proposing to consult on them.” 

Magor West councillor Frances Taylor, who leads the council’s independent group, said by keeping the Magor and Undy sites under consideration Cllr Burch wasn’t following the scrutiny committee’s recommendation the work should start again as none of the sites were suitable.  

Cllr Burch said she wasn’t intending to look again at 17 sites that had produced the shortlist, and she said most of those had been ruled out as they are amenity land, but wanted to keep the Magor and Undy sites under consideration. 

She said: “More investigations need to be done to establish whether they are suitable for any form of development. That is where we are and I will come back with recommendations for a proposal in September.” 

A renewed call for landowners, members of the Gypsy Traveller community or anyone else to suggest possible sites will close on in August but the council has said as yet no new proposals have come forward.  

Potential sites for consideration can be put forward to the council by emailing [email protected] by Wednesday, August 23.