Bridgend County Borough Council is reassuring residents living near an illegal caravan site in Rhiwceiliog, Pencoed that they are continuing to take action to remedy the planning breach.
In August this year at Cardiff Magistrate’s Court, the local authority successfully prosecuted eight defendants: Coleen Price, Henry Price, Hendry Price, Teona Price, Margaret Price, Tom Roberts, Amy Preece and Danny Preece for failing to comply with a Stop Notice concerning two unauthorised gypsy pitches on land at Rhiwceiliog, Pencoed.
The court cases followed earlier decisions of the council to refuse planning permission for two pitches comprising static caravans, touring caravans, day rooms and associated areas and drainage works on two sites on the northern and southern side of Church Street.
One of the defendants entered a guilty plea and the remaining defendants were found guilty and were collectively fined and ordered to pay over £5,500 but caravans and other structures remain on both sites. It is understood planning appeals have been submitted to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales against the refusals of planning permission with the appeal process due to start in the next few weeks. As part of the appeal process, residents that made representations at the application stage will be notified to offer them the opportunity to make further comments. An independent planning inspector will consider the appeals and any evidence or comments submitted and make a decision.
Meanwhile, the local authority is considering what further action can be undertaken on the illegal caravan site.
As part of the council’s replacement Local Development Plan (LDP), accommodation needs for Gypsies and Travellers have been identified in the draft, with two sites marked as potential locations.
Cllr Stuart Baldwin, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are working tirelessly to resolve the planning issues as quickly as possible.
“We are also exploring potential locations for accommodating the needs of Gypsy and Traveller families as outlined in the replacement LDP.
“Under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, councils are legally required to undertake accommodation assessments for Gypsies and Travellers. This places a duty on the council to meet identified needs for pitches, while national planning policy in Wales requires councils to ensure that appropriate sites are provided through the LDP where there is a recognised need.”