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Study identifies need for an extra hundred Gypsy pitches in Cardiff

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Study identifies need for an extra hundred Gypsy pitches in Cardiff

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Housing

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An independent study into the accommodation requirements of Gypsies and Travellers in Cardiff has identified a need for an additional 108 pitches in the city up to 2026.

Welsh councils are required to assess Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs within their county boundaries and include within their Local Development Plan (LDP) proposals specific site allocations capable of meeting current or expected shortfalls in provision.

There are currently two council-managed Gypsy Traveller sites in Cardiff - at Rover Way and Shirenewton, which provide more than 75 pitches between them. In addition there are a few privately run facilities, most notably a site next to the council’s residential site at Shirenewton.

Commissioned by Cardiff Council, the study - by Opinion Research Services/Peter Brett Associates - is being carried out in consultation with the Gypsy and Traveller community and has revised downward the figure previously identified in an accommodation needs assessment completed in August 2008.

The earlier study had suggested that 194 pitches would have to be provided up to 2018.

Councillor Ralph Cook said: “The significant difference between the two studies may be explained by the fact that this administration was particularly keen to ensure that any study it commissioned provided accurate and up to date data and that its authors attempted to interview all existing Gypsy and Traveller households living within the city.

"They have achieved a 70% sample (60 interviews) compared to the previous study which was based on a 17% sample (25 interviews).”

The study also identifies a need for a transit site of around ten pitches, which should be located near the M4 to meet the needs of Gypsy and Travellers who are visiting the area or travelling through it. This will be progressed through a process of dialogue with other councils in the region.

Councillor Cook added: “The study concludes that a transit site need not necessarily fall within the boundaries of the County of Cardiff and recommends entering a cross boundary process with our neighbouring councils and across South East Wales to identify a suitable site within the region.

“The findings of this survey will be used in the preparation of the Deposit LDP to help inform the development of the criteria that will be used to identify potential new Gypsy Traveller residential sites. The Deposit LDP is scheduled to appear at the September Cabinet Meeting and be debated by Council later in the month. Public consultation will follow, so everyone will have the opportunity to comment on these issues. More immediately these finding were presented to the Community & Adult Scrutiny Committee (CASC) on Tuesday.

"A separate study being undertaken by Atkins Limited is looking at the options for the future of the existing Rover Way Gypsy and Traveller site.”

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