Proposal to build a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site at Hayeswood Road, Barry – frequently asked questions

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is currently considering creating a permanent site for Gypsies and Travellers on land at Hayeswood Road in Barry.

  • Monday, 17 September 2018

    Vale of Glamorgan



No firm decisions have yet been made on this matter, but below are answers to frequently asked questions about the proposal.

Civic Offices-007 “As a Council, we must ensure that we provide suitable accommodation for all those within our community and Gypsy and Traveller groups are certainly no exception.


“Having somewhere to call home is a basic human right that everyone is entitled to. It is fundamental to our wellbeing and provides children with an environment in which they can grow and develop.


“After careful consideration and discussions with local Gypsy and Traveller representatives, we believe we have found an excellent site that caters for their specific needs, although the proposal will need to be carefully considered. The Council will first undertake a consultation exercise with the travellers, residents and businesses located in the vicinity of the proposed site, after which if appropriate the site development proposal will be carefully considered at the planning stage. No firm decisions have yet been taken. Hopefully this location can provide the travellers with a permanent home, a base from which they can continue to be valued members of our community.” - Cllr John Thomas, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

  • Why have you chosen this site?

    Selecting the preferred site was a complex process as the location needed to satisfy a range of specific criterion. This site was chosen as it met those requirements and also because it lies in close proximity to the current unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller site and the amenities of Barry.

     

    The search for a suitable site focussed on public-owned land or known private areas that had been previously promoted for this use.

     

    Certain possibilities were dismissed for reasons relating to the likes of flood risk, protections placed on particular environments and other legal or land issues.

     

    From the sites that were not eliminated at this stage, a shortlist was drawn up from which the preferred site was selected.

  • Why can’t the group remain at current site or move to the former CA site?

    The nearby site, currently occupied by Travellers, is an unauthorised encampment which the Council did consider developing into a permanent authorised site where they could remain. Unfortunately, during the Local Development Plan process, the Welsh Government Planning Inspector insisted that the Council discount this site as it is located in a C2 flood zone and offers poor access for emergency vehicles. Therefore the current residents do not have planning permission to use the land for residential purposes.

  • Will residents of the site have to pay Council tax and other rates?

    Travellers living at the site will be subject to exactly the same rates and taxes as any other resident. This means they will pay Council Tax, pitch rent, utility bills and all other costs associated with living within the community.

  • Why haven’t local residents been consulted on these plans and how can I object to them?

    No firm decision has yet been made to develop this site. We will shortly be launching a consultation exercise on proposals, which includes a community engagement event, and encourage all interested parties to contribute to that process.

     

    Views can be expressed in person at this event, by filling out an online survey or by emailing a designated address. All opinions will be given full consideration before a final decision on this issue is taken.

     

    The arrangements for this event will be made in due course and letters sent to homes and businesses near Hayeswood Road with the details. 

  • What is the next step in the process?

    The proposed site will be subject to a Pre Application Consultation which will be run by the housing department of the Council who are acting as the developer. This is a statutory requirement for any proposals which are classed as ‘major development’. This process will allow interested parties to comment on a draft version of the planning application over a 28-day consultation period.

     

    The draft planning application will include the full suite of planning application documents such as scaled plans, surveys and technical reports. As part of this 28-day consultation, the developer can choose to run a community engagement event where interested parties will have the opportunity to engage with the developer and view material relating to the draft application. Following the 28-day consultation, the developer must produce a Pre Application Report which needs to evidence how the developer has carried out the consultation, sets out the issues raised by respondents and how the comments made have been considered in the final proposal.

     

    This report must be submitted alongside any subsequent planning application made to the Local Planning Authority to validate the application. Once the Pre Application Process has been completed the developer can then submit a full planning application to be determined by the Local Planning Authority. When a full planning application is submitted the Local Planning Authority holds a 21 day consultation period allowing interested parties to comment on the application. These comments are then considered in the determination of the proposal.

     

    If the development is approved, it is anticipated the site would come into use in 2020.

  • What if my house value drops?

    There is no evidence to suggest this proposed development will adversely affect the price of houses in the vicinity.

  • Will horses be allowed on the site?

    No. If this site is developed, it will be for residential use only and it will not include any stables. The Council’s Housing Department will manage the pitches in the same way that it manages its council homes and therefore domestic pets only will be allowed to be kept on the site by the residents. 

     

     

  • Will this development cause damage to local wildlife?

    Prior to the start of any development, ecological surveys are required to be carried out on the land. Therefore, should the proposal go ahead, care will be taken to ensure there is no detrimental effect to local wildlife. Among other measures, this would involve transporting a colony of slowworms to Cosmeston Lakes.

  • Will residents of this site be subject to the same rules regarding recycling and waste?

    As with taxation, Travellers living at the site will be subject to exactly the same rules relating to recycling and waste as other members of the community.

  • How many caravans will there be at the site?

    The site can cater for 20 pitches. A pitch is enough space to accommodate one household and their caravans.

  • How long will each traveller be allowed to stay?

    This is a permanent site so each pitch will be deemed to be the traveller’s home in the same way as a rented house. Therefore, the residents will enter into a rental agreement for their pitch and be  expected to be based at the site long-term. They will also be able to travel and return there whenever they choose.

  • How far will caravans be away from the houses?

    The existing residential houses along Hayes Lane would be the closest properties to the proposed site. The proposed pitch boundary nearest to a property boundary would be separated by approximately 9 metres. The majority of proposed pitches would be set back from the existing residential properties along Hayes Road by approximately 15 metres.

  • Will there be a Council officer on site at all times?

    The site will be managed by the housing department of the Council in the same way that it manages council homes to ensure its smooth running. There will be an officer based on site, but the exact hours in which they will work has yet to be confirmed. 

  • Will the number of plots increase beyond 20?

    No, 20 is the maximum number of plots available

  • Will this development attract Travellers from elsewhere?

    The Council has a duty of care to all members of the community and is required by law to provide somewhere for Gypsies and Travellers to live under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. This development is designed to cater for demand within the Vale so priority will be given to those already based in the County. Should any plots remain, consideration will be given to letting them to individuals from further afield and a waiting list will be drawn up.

  • If the Council is helping Travellers, why isn’t more being done to tackle homelessness?

    The Council has a statutory duty to prevent and alleviate homelessness. The housing solutions team within the housing department continues to undertake this work in accordance with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The department works closely with housing association partners and private developers and has commenced its own council house building programme in order to secure additional affordable housing for those in need in the Vale of Glamorgan. This is in addition to securing privately rented homes from private landlords.

  • Given the financial pressures on the Vale of Glamorgan Council following a reduction in its funding settlement, how is it able to pay for the development of a Gypsy and Traveller site? 

    Because of the statutory requirement placed on all Councils in Wales to meet the housing needs of the Gypsy & Traveller community in their area, the Welsh Government has set aside capital funding, which is ring fenced for the development of new Gypsy and Traveller sites and for upgrading existing sites. Following the consultation period, if a successful planning application is made to develop a Gypsy and Traveller site in the Vale of Glamorgan, the Council will then be reliant on making a successful bid to Welsh Government to meet the cost of building the site.

  • If the residents on the unauthorised Sully site refuse to move to the new site in Barry, who will move onto it?

    If the Travellers refuse to move onto the new site or if the Council’s bid for capital funding to Welsh Government is unsuccessful, there are a number of other possibilities for the land and we will reconsider our position.

  • Won’t site residents pose a risk of crime and disorder?

    There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Travellers in question pose any threat to the safety or property of other local residents. They are the same group that currently occupy land 500 metres down the road in Sully and the Council is not aware of any incidents of antisocial behaviour or criminal activity linked to them.