THE purchase of land deemed suitable for creating sites for travellers is being proposed by Denbighshire.
Denbighshire County Council – alongside other local authorities in Wales – have been asked to identify the needs of gypsies and travellers and identify sites to in the hope of solving the problem of unauthorised encampments.
A spokesman for the authority said: “Members of Denbighshire’s cabinet have agreed a formal response to the Welsh Government on the assessment of accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers.
“All local authorities have been required to undertake an up to date assessment by the end of February.
“Denbighshire’s own assessment recognises the need for a six-pitch permanent residential gypsy and travellers site in the county, as well as a transit site for four to five pitches to provide accommodation for gypsies and travellers travelling through the county.”
Cllr Hugh Irving, Denbighshire’s cabinet lead member for communities, added: “We fully recognise the need and duty to review accommodation issues for gypsies and travellers.
“Historically, we have seen unlawful encampments on council and private land, predominantly in the north of the county and the position will continue if we don’t take a proactive approach to managing the accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers. Resolving unlawful encampments will inevitably result in costs for the council and providing facilities for residential and transit accommodation would certainly help address this issue.”
A report has been compiled by Angela Loftus, Denbighshire’s strategic planning and housing manager, entitled ‘Amendments to the Draft Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment’.
It states: “The full and robust consideration of gypsy and traveller accommodation needs will have a positive impact on improving the well-being of gypsy and traveller families in the county, especially where current living arrangements are causing difficulties.
”Gypsies and travellers often have poor health compared to the general population and provision of authorised sites would help to support existing family network and provide decent quality living environment whilst ensuring access to health facilities.”
The authority has submitted its formal response to Welsh Government.