Last chance to respond to Gypsy and Traveller Community Strategy
CARMARTHENSHIRE’S gypsy and traveller communities have a few weeks left to respond to the consultation on a new strategy aimed at improving the council’s response to their needs.
A Gypsy and Traveller Community Strategy has been put together to ensure better support for their education, health and social care needs, and to ensure improved access to accommodation.
The local gypsy and traveller community, together with partner agencies such as Education and Planning, and Elected Members, have been involved throughout the process.
Residents at the council-owned Penybryn site at Bynea, Llanelli, private sites and the Westover site in Whitland were interviewed about their needs, health and education.
Having a fully-informed strategy in place will mean officers can have a proper understanding of the movements, encampments and lifestyles of the communities so they can plan for their housing, education and health needs.
The draft strategy has been out for consultation since November, and will end on February 25. It is expected to be implemented in May.
The council’s Head of Housing Services Robin Staines said: “There is a growing requirement to produce a strategy that addresses access to health and education, future provision, enforcement and the future of the authority’s site at Penbryn.
“Our immediate focus is on accommodation and management of the Penybryn site, access to services and dealing with unauthorised encampments fairly.”
Carmarthenshire’s gypsy and traveller population includes Welsh Romany gypsies, Irish travellers, Polish gypsies and New Age travellers.
Research shows that there are around 12 unauthorised encampments in the county in any one year.
As well as the site at Penybryn, there are five residential sites that are licensed and four where planning permission has been refused.
Housing Executive Board Member Cllr Hugh Evans said: “The strategy demonstrates the council’s commitment to improving its approach to gypsy and traveller communities, and to ensuring that their voices are heard.
“For those nomadic people who travel through our county, we will be clear about where and how they should access facilities, which will enhance their aspirations and sustain their ways of life, whilst recognising the aspirations of our wider communities.”
To view the strategy, visit the housing services page on the council’s website – www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk
Responses can be sent to Housing Services, Ty Elwyn, Llanelli, SA15 3AP, or on email to housing@Carmarthenshire.gov.uk