DENBIGHSHIRE County Council is set to undertake a new needs assessment for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation.

This work is to assess current accommodation need within the Gypsy and Traveller community and does not include looking for locations for sites.

Cllr Hugh Evans, leader of the council, said: “The last GTAA was approved in 2017 and we must submit a new one to Welsh Government early next year.

“The GTAA assesses accommodation need only and this work does not include looking for locations for sites. There will be no further work on looking for sites until we understand the current needs.

“This work is for identifying need for both Gypsy and Traveller families who already live in Denbighshire and also for Gypsy and Travellers who travel through the county and stay on unauthorised encampments.

“The council has taken on board concerns raised during previous work and has both senior officers and Cabinet members involved in a project board to manage the development of this project.”

The council has a legal duty to undertake a new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) every five years as a requirement of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 and is also a requirement for the replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) the Council is currently working on.

The LDP is an important document which sets out local priorities for land allocation across the county and includes land allocations for housing, employment and the protection of green space.

At a meeting on May 13 the project board is asking for support from the council’s communities Scrutiny committee to form a new Task and Finish group involving elected members from across Denbighshire.

It is proposed the group will support the development of the new GTAA by ensuring the process complies with Welsh Government guidelines and takes on board previous feedback.

The group will also assist with the development of a stakeholder engagement plan to ensure good communication about the project.

If the council’s Scrutiny committee endorses this approach it is expected the consultation process, which will include talking to Gypsy and Traveller families and the wider community including representative groups, will begin in the summer.

Last March, an application for a proposed Gypsy and Traveller site was knocked back after an impassioned plea from the mother of a girl with a rare genetic condition.

Officers had recommended approval of the six-pitch site off Cwttir Lane in St Asaph.

Protesters against the plans stood with placards and made their feelings known outside the chamber, while a packed public gallery saw councillors reject the plans by 15 votes to two, with one abstention.