An online petition against proposed plans for a gypsy and travellers site at Hayeswood road has gained over 1,600 signatures in less than one week.
The proposed site, which is close to a number of homes along Hayes Road, was allocated for 55 new houses under the local development plan adopted by the council in June last year but the council’s cabinet voted to finalise negotiations with Welsh Government to buy the land and to submit a planning application for 20 pitches for caravans.
It’s understood this site was never the preferred option and that it was initially earmarked for light industrial or housing. The project would cost £2.3 million pounds and would include 20 plots, a play area, office/community space. As part of the proposals a dedicated full time manager would be on site to ensure the area is supervised.
However campaigners say that is only during office hours and there’s concern of increased anti social behaviour in the evenings and weekends.
Councillor Bob Penrose who was the only cabinet member to vote against the plans, said he’d received numerous calls from people objecting to the development, and has been lobbying other cabinet members and council officers to oppose the scheme.
Cllr Kevin Mahoney also warned a development of more than 40 new industrial units due to be signed off last week had been put on hold and a major firm had been in touch to say that they will be moving their operation if this goes ahead.
A council study identified the need for a long term site for 17 gypsy and travellers families currently illegally occupying the former refuge tip at Hayes Road, and two families at sites in Twyn yr Odyn and Llangan.
A report to the cabinet said repeated attempts to talk with the travellers over the last two years had been unsuccessful, and it’s understood they are not keen to relocate and residents fear the site will end up as a transient camp.
Campaigners and residents say the proposed site will have devastating effect on the quality of their lives, homes and will impact not just their community, but the surrounding towns of Barry, Dinas Powys and Penarth, and want the council to reconsider their proposed plans.
Cllr John Thomas, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “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.
“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 at the planning stage and no firm decisions on this matter have yet been taken.
“There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the Travellers in question pose any threat to local residents. They are the same group that currently occupy land 500 metres down the road and the Council is not aware of any incidents of antisocial behaviour or criminal activity linked to them.
“We will be holding a consultation exercise on these proposals, including a drop-in event, and encourage all interested parties to contribute to that process.
“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.”
You can find out more about the petition and proposals via www.change.org