COUNCILLORS are set to oppose a suggestion that Denbigh becomes an official stop-off site for Gypsies and Travellers, as part of a bid to provide more inclusive accommodation for nomadic communities in the county.

Denbighshire County Council (DCC) will discuss whether land off Henllan Road in Upper Denbigh is suitable for a transit site to accompany its plan for a permanent residential Gypsy and Traveller site in St Asaph. The council is currently drawing up a fresh Local Development Plan (LDP) and it is legally required by the Welsh Government to include Gyspy and Traveller accommodation, amid concern that a national shortage of authorised stopping places is making it difficult to maintain the traditionally nomadic way of life.

A list of sites, including three plots in Rhuallt, will be reviewed on Thursday by the council’s communities committee – which oversees LDP decisions – to decide where to carry out nearly £180,000 of land development assessments.

Mark Young, county councillor for Denbigh and cabinet member for planning and safer communities, said there is “an identified need” for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in Denbighshire.

“It is a legal requirement by the Welsh Government that Denbighshire County Council identifies a location for a Gypsy and Traveller site. The process to find a transit site alongside the proposed permanent site in St Asaph has just started.

“There will be opportunities for residents to raise concerns at a later stage.”

Cllr Young added that the council’s provision of a Gypsy and Traveller site has been “the subject of significant debate” and residents “shouldn’t get involved in any conversation which is disrespectful to members of the community”.

The proposal for the residential site on Greengates Farm, on the outskirts of St Asaph, was made last year to significant opposition from residents and the city council, including a 4,000-signature petition and more than 700 written objections. Mayor Peter Scott said “the methodology to locate this site was flawed”.

Tremeirchion county councillor Christine Marston, who represents Rhuallt, situated just off the A55, said she will “object most strongly” to all three proposed locations in the village as they are “inappropriate and poorly selected”.

Denbigh councillors also expressed concern over the consideration of their town on the grounds that it is too far from the A55, the main travel route for Gypsy and Traveller communities in North Wales.

Geraint Lloyd-Williams, county councillor for Upper Denbigh and Henllan, said he hoped the Denbigh plots “won’t get through the selection process” as they are “not what I would call ideal locations”.

“The sites would not provide easy access to and from the A55,” he said, adding: “I have spoken to land tenant who was shocked to hear as to what was proposed with the land he farms.”

Cllr Glenn Swingler, for Upper Denbigh and Henllan, and member of the communities committee, said the Denbigh location is likely to be rejected by Gypsy and Traveller representatives as it is “way off the main transit route”.

“I have no problem with the transit site being in the county, however the council has to find the right site for them [Gypsy and Traveller communities] and Denbigh is a 20-mile round route to the A55,” he said.

An update on the transit site selection process will follow the Thursday meeting.