Mid Wales

Brecon Gypsy and traveller site at King's Meadow opens

A 15-year search for a permanent home for a family of Romany Gypsies in Brecon has ended with the opening of a new site.

The site at King's Meadow in Brecon has been backed by nearly £2m of Welsh government funds.

It is the first new local authority-owned site built in Wales since 1997.

The family had been living on a temporary site near Brecon since 2008 and before that lived in a lay-by in nearby Libanus.

There are currently 10 occupied residential plots with room for another four at the camp, adjacent to Brecon Enterprise Park.

Powys council had originally planned to build a permanent travellers' site in Llanfilo, near Brecon, but its own planning committee twice turned down applications for it.

In 2008, the council temporarily placed the family in nearby Cefn Cantref but it did so without planning permission from Brecon Beacons National Park. The national park accused the council of a "flagrant disregard of planning policy".

An application by the council to extend the family's stay at Cefn Cantref until April 2012 was turned down by the national park in 2010, but an appeal against the decision was upheld by the planning inspectorate.

In April 2010, the saga cost the council and national park authority £250 each when the public service ombudsman for Wales partially upheld a complaint by a property developer, who owned land adjacent to Cefn Cantref.

Suitable location

Powys council was criticised for moving the family there without planning consent, while the national park authority was criticised for taking eight months to deal with a retrospective planning application for the site.

The ombudsman urged the council to find the Gypsy family a suitable location as a matter of urgency.

The King's Meadow site was opened by the Welsh government's Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Jeff Cuthbert.

"I sincerely hope this site will be the first of many more new local authority sites to be built in Wales during the next five to 10 years," he said.

"We want to ensure the accommodation needs of all Gypsies and travellers are adequately addressed."

The site is the second of its kind in Powys alongside the Withybeds camp in Welshpool which received a £1.3m revamp in 2010.

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