A Newport Member of the Senedd (MS) has called for changes to Welsh Government guidance around unauthorised encampments.
During the Covid-19 pandemic guidance prevents local authorities from evicting unauthorised encampments.
Residents have raised concerns about an encampment that has been set up on Sandpiper Way in Duffryn, Newport.
On July 13 we reported that more than 30 caravans had turned up on the site, known locally as Sandpiper Park. It is normally used as a playing ground for sports and for children.(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
At the time Newport council has said it is aware of the camp but a directive from Welsh Government meant they were unable to move them.
However following more concerns raised by residents, after people had been spotted riding off-road bikes around the encampment, Newport West MS Jayne Bryant has called for changes to be made urgently.
She said: “Whilst I fully support the practical reasons behind limiting evictions during a pandemic, the law as it currently stands is restricting local authorities from being able to enforce illegal gypsy and traveller sites effectively.
"It’s frustrating for all involved."
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Ms Bryant added: “In my meeting with the minister, Jane Hutt, I raised residents’ serious concerns and reports of anti-social behaviour and called for the minister to urgently review the guidance which prevents local authorities from evicting during the pandemic.
"The minister has agreed to my request to review the guidance and it will be carried out by an expert panel.
“I’ve also requested an urgent meeting with Gwent Police to discuss better community cohesion.
"I will continue to work with the Welsh Government, Newport City Council, and Gwent Police and I will do my best to keep residents informed of developments."(Image: Senedd TV)
Newport council leader Jane Mudd added: “Jayne Bryant and I met with Welsh Government this week to discuss the issues caused by the current guidance on travellers' camps. We were grateful to Jane Hutt for agreeing to meet and are hopeful that a review of the guidance will enable us to deal with these issues as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for Gwent Police said: "Gwent Police is aware of a gypsy and traveller encampment in Sandpiper Park, Newport, and is currently working with the council following concerns raised by the local community.
"Officers have attended the location this morning [July 24] following a number of reports received of off-road bikes and quad bikes being ridden on the site yesterday.
"Neighbourhood officers will continue to patrol the area and work with our communities."
Any residents who are concerned or witness any illegal activity can report it to the police by calling 101 or for more serious crimes to 999.