Travellers' 'distress' over Cwmcrachen site decision delay

Cwmcrachen Gypsy and traveller site Image copyright Google
Image caption Gypsies and travellers say a larger site is needed to accommodate growing families

Families living on a "deteriorating" Gypsy and traveller settlement have pleaded with Blaenau Gwent councillors to back a new £4.5m site in its place.

Members have deferred a decision on the site near Nantyglo pending a visit.

Concerns have been raised that the proposal to expand the number of pitches from 20 to 28 would exceed Welsh Government guidelines.

Planning officers have recommended approval, saying larger sites can be allowed in "exceptional circumstances".

There has been a Gypsy and traveller settlement at Cwmcrachen for more than 200 years, but a new, larger site is planned nearby due to demand.

A letter sent to the council on behalf of 15 residents of the site said they were concerned about the delay in giving the go-ahead, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"This is causing great distress to many residents due to the fact of the deteriorating accommodation and facilities that are in a desperate state of repair at the current site," the letter said.

"Many residents believe the council has understood the importance of family in the Gypsy and traveller community and has included their family values and culture in the plans for the extension.

"The families of Cwmcrachen plead with the planning committee not to stop the plans for this much-needed, improved, extended site to help with ensuring the families and children have a safe place to be proud of and call home."

Mel Hughes, who lives nearby, told councillors at a planning committee meeting on 7 June that the travelling community were "good neighbours" although he objected to the scheme on the grounds of its size and a lack of consultation with local people.

The proposal will be considered by the committee again next week.

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