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PLANS to extend a traveller’s site at Blaina have been refused by Blaenau Gwent councillors.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, October 6, councillors discussed a retrospective planning application for five extra pitches, at Glyn Milwr, Stone Houses, Blaina.

The application also includes hardstanding, parking, toilet, fencing and extension to the access drive.

The plans were submitted following a complaint that commercial vehicles were seen at the site.

This started an investigation which brought enforcement action against the residents.

Planning officer, Joanne White said:

“It is considered that the development would pose a risk to pedestrian safety

“The site cannot accommodate five pitches comprising with one static caravan, one tourer, plus parking without resulting in over development of the site.

“The cramped form of development raises concern as well.

“For fire safety, the Welsh Government guidance design in Traveller and Gypsy sites indicates that the minimum distance between caravans should be six meters.

“This could not be achieved with the provision of up to 10 caravans within the site, however they’re arranged.”

“It’s clear from the latest Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTTA) that there is a need for an additional nine pitches in the borough and this application would certainly assist in meeting that need.”

Ms White explained that a plan for less pitches could have been acceptable.

“However, the proposal seeks to increase the capacity of the site by over 100%, which raises fundamental highway safety concerns.”

Due to this Ms White advised the committee to refuse the application.

Committee chairwoman, Cllr Lisa Winnett spoke on the application as the ward member which meant she didn’t vote on it.

Cllr Winnett told the committee that she and residents had “substantial correspondence” with the Environment Health department over noise disturbance from the site.

Cllr Winnett said:

“I fully understand the clear need for pitches in the borough for the travelling community and sympathise with them on this – but I strongly concur with the highways and planning officers on their reasons for refusal this as it would be extremely dangerous to allow this to go ahead due to highway safety.”

Cllr Peter Baldwin said:

“I’m fully aware of the need for extra provision for travellers.

“I appreciate they do want more living accommodation for their families, and I support that, but not necessarily all on this one site.”

Cllr Baldwin believed it would not be a good site for families to live there.

Cllr John Hill asked why the application had ended up in front of committee?

“Reading the report there’s no way we could accept it because it broke so many highway rules and I’ve heard no one speaking for it, said Cllr Hill

Planning development team manager, Steph Hopkins said it was felt that this application was “a contentious application of wider interest” and should be decided by councillors so that they are “aware” of this situation.

Committee vice-chairman, Cllr Derrick Bevan added: “There was speaker, but he withdrew his request this morning.”

The councillors unanimously agreed with officer’s recommendations and refused the application.



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