Unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller site between Llandegla and Bwlchgwyn: Frequently Asked Questions 

Unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller site between Llandegla and Bwlchgwyn

The Council has served a planning Enforcement Notice in relation to the above site, and we continue to receive a high volume of queries about the case. In response, we are providing updates about the case here.

The current status of the case is as follows:

An Enforcement Notice has been issued to require the restoration of the site to its prior, authorised state. The period for compliance with the Notice elapsed on the 6th May 2021, but its recipients have not complied with the requirements of the Notice. The Council has therefore carried out a partial clearance of the site. The Council is actively considering what further steps we can take to enforce compliance. We have obtained independent legal advice to ensure that our next steps are compliant with the law.

This status was updated on the 17th September 2021 and is reviewed regularly. A further status update will be provided in due course.

Unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller site between Llandegla and Bwlchgwyn: Frequently Asked Questions

Further information about how the Council deals with alleged planning breaches is provided in our planning compliance charter.

Who is responsible for the unauthorised activity?

The site is being occupied by a family from the Gypsy/Traveller community with the consent of the landowner.

The family was not responsible for the storage of cars and other paraphernalia outside of the fenced area on the site. The Council has now cleared these items.

How long will it take to stop the occupation of the site?

The Council issued an Enforcement Notice on 6th October 2020.

The Notice required the occupants of the site to vacate within 7 months.

As the occupants have not adhered to this requirement, the Council is considering further legal options to ensure compliance with the Notice.

The duration of this process is currently unknown, however this is a priority case for the Council's planning department.

How much will it cost to take this process to its conclusion?

The overall costs of this process could vary significantly. The Council has already carried out a partial site clearance and is now considering how the costs of this operation, which are in the thousands of pounds, can be recovered.

Eventual costs could escalate further, in which case a decision will need to be made to determine which courses of action represent value for money for the community.

How can you prevent re-occupation of this site or other private land in the vicinity?

The Enforcement Notice which the Council has issued will remain in effect indefinitely, even if it is complied with. This means that we should not need to issue a new notice if the site is ever reoccupied, so long as the activity is covered by the description of the breach on the existing notice. Note: This would not apply to the occupation of neighbouring land or other land in the vicinity.

What legal powers does the Council have to resolve the situation?

The Council has the legal power to prosecute, take direct action (where the Council will undertake works required by the Notice) or apply for an injunction.

The Council has already taken direct action to clear part of the site and is considering taking further action.

Any action undertaken by the Council will be in adherence to existing legislation, such as Human Rights and Coronavirus regulations.

What legal powers do the police have to resolve the situation?

It is the Council's responsibility to ensure that the situation is resolved, however the Council is working in coordination with the Police within the community.

How are you ensuring the safety of the residents of the caravan site?

The Council has identified that the visibility at the vehicular access to the site from the A525 road is restricted and is therefore considered to be a hazard to highway safety.

The Council is taking action to ensure the safety of both the occupants of the site and other road users.

The Council is also working with key services, including Education and the North Wales Police to ensure the safety and welfare of the residents.

The Council has a duty to provide appropriate accommodation for Gypsies/Travellers if a need for such is identified.

The Council is undertaking welfare visits at the site.

Are you working with any groups that represent the Gypsy and Traveller community in relation to this site?

The Council is not working with groups that represent the Gypsy and Traveller community in relation to this site, but is open to working with representative groups.

Are you having conversations with the landowner and current occupants of the site with regard to their intentions and/or wellbeing?

Yes. The Council is in contact with the occupants and the landowner.

The land owner is in agreement to the residents being present.

Has there been any community tension between the settled local community and the occupants of the site?

Concerns have been raised directly with the Council's planning department regarding occupation of the site.

Accordingly, the planning department is liaising extensively with the Police and the Council's public protection department, and has not found any crime or statutory nuisance to have occurred.

How are you working with elected representatives to ensure that the community has a voice within the decision making process?

The Council is working with the Senedd Member and Local Member who are reflecting the local community's concerns. They are also involved in key meetings relating to decision making.

Welsh Government will not be directly involved in this matter as it is for the Council to resolve. However, policy and guidance issued by Welsh Government have been taken into consideration in the enforcement process and are referred to specifically within the Enforcement Notice.

Coronavirus regulations issued by Welsh Government (external website) may also have an impact on any further enforcement action undertaken by the Council.

What is the environmental impact of the occupation of this site?

The Council is working with Natural Resources Wales (external website) and Welsh Water (external website) to ensure that there is no environmental impact from the unauthorised development on the land and nearby reservoir.

What are the road safety implications of the occupation of this site?

The access from the unauthorised development to the adjacent highway does not meet required standards. Accordingly, the impact of the development on the highway is one of the considerations which led the Council to issue the Enforcement Notice.

The Notice states the following:

The visibility at the vehicular access to the site from the A525 road is restricted by the vertical alignment of the existing carriageway and by the erection of fencing at the periphery of the site.

The means of access is therefore considered to cause a hazard to highway safety and to fail to adequately meet the visibility standards specified in Welsh Government's Technical Advice Note 18: Transport (March 2007).

Any individual road traffic incidents should be reported to the North Wales Police (external website).

Could this site get planning permission to operate?

The Council will not be granting planning permission for the development of the site in its current guise. The Council would only give consideration to granting planning permission for the change of use of the land if the harms identified on the Enforcement Notice can be addressed.

How are you going to prevent any negative behaviour towards the Gypsy and Traveller families in this location?

The Council has published information on its website to provide communities with relevant and useful information about Gypsies and Travellers, as well as information about their culture.

Any individual incidents of anti-social behaviour should be reported to the North Wales Police (external website).

Where can I find more information about the planning compliance process?

The Council has adopted a charter which sets out how alleged breaches of planning control are dealt with.

Planning compliance charter.