Campaigners' joy after gipsy camp plans thrown out

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

CAMPAIGNERS were jubilant last night after councillors rejected sites in their communities being earmarked for a gipsy camp.

Wrexham Council met in the Guildhall to discuss its Local Development Plan (LDP) and choose a potential site to house more itinerants.

Three sites have been the focus of attention for weeks – one in Brymbo, a second in Chirk and a third in Ruthin Road, Wrexham, which would be alongside an existing site for gipsies and travellers.

An amendment put forward by Cllr Paul Rogers taking Chirk and Brymbo off the list won the day.

The move left the council with one option only. However, warnings were made that government officials might not accept just one location going forward for consideration.

The LDP is due to go on public deposit in the summer.

Large numbers of villagers turned up at the meeting to show their opposition to plans for traveller accommodation in their communities.

Speaking to the Leader beforehand, many protesters stressed they were not against the idea of a gipsy camp but felt Coed Y Felin Road in Brymbo and Chirk Park, Chirk, had too many drawbacks to be considered suitable.

They put forward a number of reasons for objection including environmental, road safety and lack of amenities.

At the meeting Chirk Cllr Ian Roberts described the Chirk Park site as economic silver, being one of the most valuable pieces of land in the entire county.

“No-one else throws these important sites away. They keep them until the time of greatest use,” said Cllr Roberts.

Cllr Mark Davies told the meeting: “The Ruthin Road site is completely unsuitable. A further extension would create a concentration camp on that roadway.”

Cllr Davies said he felt there were better possibilities in the county for setting up a new gipsy camp than the three which were being discussed.

“I feel somewhere this council needs to revisit some of these other sites. More work needs to be done,” he said.

Cllr Alan Edwards put forward a further amendment, which was unsuccessful, that all three of the proposed locations should be taken off the LDP. He said none of them met the necessary criteria.

Chief planning officer Lawrence Isted has previously told councillors the Wrexham area has a definite need for another official site for itinerants.

See full story in the Leader

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