Gypsy and Traveller Consultation on Site Selection

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Why are we doing this?: Following an accommodation needs assessment for the Gypsy and Traveller community, which highlighted that there are insufficient pitches available to meet the current and future demand, WCBC are hoping to identify suitable sites for 2 new gypsy and traveler sites, and a temporary stopping site within the county borough.  The first stage of this process is to consult with members of the Gypsy and Traveler community to establish what their preferences, needs and wants for a new site would be.
What do we want to know?: 

The consultation will focus on 4 themes:
Site Design
Site Facilities
Site Management, Maintenance and Safety
Temporary Stopping Place
Together, the opinions people have on each of these themes should start to give a picture of the type of location a new site should be based.
 
 **The purpose is not to ask members of the community to identify particular geographical locations of preference, as this may create false hope.  G and T opinions will form 1 part of the site selection process, along with planning, finance, legal etc.**

What we found out: Permanent sites. The Council should:
1. Consider locating the new sites within reasonable distance of medical services. This does not necessarily have to mean that these services are ‘on the door step’, but they are close enough that travel time is not prohibitive.
2. Ensure that the proposed new sites are located appropriately to allow easy access to public transport and safe walking routes. This may mean that there is a bus stop located at the site entrance, or that there is one a short distance away. Where there will be a need to walk to a bus stop, WCBC should ensure that are safe and appropriate footpaths between a bus stop and the site.
3. Consider the research and findings of the Play Development team so that they can ensure they offer adequate and safe opportunities for children and young people to spend their free time on the new sites.
4. Ensure that the proposed new sites are within reasonable distance of appropriate schools, and that there are is pedestrian access and appropriate routes to allow children to walk to and from school.
5. Identify site locations which will allow for the site to be designed in a ‘tree branch’ layout.
6. Site locations which will allow for appropriately sized roads and access (e.g. wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass each other safely).
7. Identify site locations which will enable the new sites to have 2 separate access points (entrance and exit).
 
8. Identify site locations where the surrounding areas and existing roads allow safe access onto and off the site.
 
Temporary stopping place. The Council should:
9. Identify a temporary stopping site which is close to and/or has good access to local amenities, but which is not positioned at the side of a road.
10. Attempt to place the temporary stopping site somewhere which is not immediately close to the existing council owned site, or the new proposed permanent sites.
11. Ensure that the temporary stopping site has good access to the main route from Chester to Oswestry.
12. (Through members of the MAF continue to seek the views and involvement of members of the G&T Community throughout this process of site identification and beyond.
13. Continuously update members of the G&T community about the progress of this work to ensure that they remain informed and engaged. This is especially important given the long timeframe which is likely to exist between this consultation and the establishment of the proposed new sites.
14. The Officer Working group should consider the views of the G&T community contained in this report, alongside other legislation, guidance, resource implications and processes in order to develop suitable site selection criteria.
15. The Council should consider assessing the accommodation needs of members of the Travelling Show Persons community separately from the needs of Gypsies and Travellers.
What difference has it made?: This report will be presented to an Officer’s working group (made up of appropriate departmental representatives). It will be the role of this group to consider this report alongside other key considerations such as planning regulations, availability of land etc., The group will take into account the recommendations in this report in the establishment of site selection criteria that will inform the final site option recommendations to Executive Board.
Start date24 April 2014
End date04 July 2014
Full addressContactEmailContact numbers
Guildhall
Wrexham
LL11 1AR
David Powelldavid.powell@ wrexham.gov.uk