County councillor call for authorised Travellers’ site as Thanet council visits 26th ‘illegal’ camp this year

Council officers and police visited the site this morning

Thanet council officers have today (June 29) visited Travellers currently staying on the authority owned car park at the rear of Dreamland.

The group moved on to the site yesterday afternoon. There are currently ten caravans parked up. It is the 26th unauthorised encampment in Thanet this year.

A Thanet council spokesman said: “We are aware of the illegal traveller encampment that has arrived at Dreamland car park. Officers from Thanet District Council are visiting the site today in order to undertake the necessary welfare assessments and following that, as appropriate, the required notices will be issued.”

There have been calls for action – such as barriers or ditches –  from residents in Dane Valley and those living close to Jackey Bakers following the increased number of incursions this year.

There have also been suggestions that Thanet council should provide an authorised site similar to those in Canterbury and Aylesham.

Labour county councillor Karen Constantine is backing the option of providing an authorised site. She said she has met with some of the Travellers on the isle and they told her they were keen to settle down, not permanently, but long enough for their children to obtain some education. She said they expressed shock when she explained how many homeless people there are in Thanet.

She said: “I can fully understand the frustrations of the ‘settled’ community with the mess and disruption that sometimes occurs after these so called ‘incursions’. But we do also have to recognise that Travellers have rights too. We need to strike the right balance by creating proper sites with proper facilities. There is a shortage right across Kent.

“We need to look for a proper Traveller site here in Thanet. If we provided  facilities then it would hopefully curtail the number of encampments that are unauthorised. “

The figures for Thanet

A Travellers group at Dane Valley Green

Last August Thanet council revealed that Traveller incursions on the isle had risen a massive 15-fold over five years.

In 2013 Thanet council dealt with two incursions. Last year there were around 40 and so far this year there have been 26.

This year Travellers setting up on the isle have used land including Dane Valley Green and Jackey Bakers, Ramsgate Port, land by Manston Tesco, St Nicholas, land by Manston airport, and, currently, Dreamland, land at the rear of B&Q and Lord of the Manor.

The most recent settlements at Dane Valley Green and Jackey Bakers have resulted in the need for clear up operations due to flytipped waste.

Thanet council – action and solutions

Jackey Bakers Photo Jim Lovett Dalley

A ‘position statement’ created by Thanet council reveals the authority is looking to target open spaces in order to make access difficult for those trying to use land to camp on.

The statement says: “We will be focussing on those areas that see regular encampments such as Jackey Bakers Recreational Ground. Tactics will include, but not be limited to options, such as bund mounds and tamper proof chains and padlocks.”

Other actions taken alongside the legal process of issuing notice to quit include gathering details and checking them against TDC records to then issue a Community Protection Warning Notice, or Community Protection Notice if a warning has previously been served.

If taken to prosecution, any equipment or vehicles used in the breach of a notice can be seized. In one weekthis month, 48  warnings were served on unauthorised encampments.

Fly-tipping, littering and parking checks are also undertaken and Fixed Penalty Notices issued where appropriate.

The penalty notices included parking fines related to the Margate car park, according to one district councillor.

Government review

A government review of the law and powers to deal with unauthorised caravan sites and developments is being led by Housing Minister Dominic Raab. Consultation on the issue opened in April and closed on June 15.

The Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) group called on the Housing Minister to address the chronic national shortage of Gypsy and Traveller sites and available stopping places in the UK. The group’s research shows there has been only been a 2% increase in socially rented pitches available between 2010 and 2017. They say a government fund aimed at helping local authorities provide pitches, the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes programme (2016-2021), has not had a single application.

The results of the consultation have not yet been made public

Traveller Movement report

A report compiled by the Traveller Movement and commissioned by the National Inclusion Health Board, found that poor health in Gypsies and Travellers is made worse by their living environment, accommodation insecurity and community discrimination.

The report says: “Unauthorised and authorised sites for Gypsies and Travellers (including local authority owned and run) are all too often situated in environments which promote poor health (busy roads, beside heavy industry etc).

“Improving the environmental health factors of existing sites and promoting appropriate future development of Traveller sites will improve health outcomes in the long-term. Such measures are also likely to prove cost-effective in terms of reduced ill-health and disability, increased mental health etc”.

Thanet council process explained

Police at the car park site

The first step is to notify Kent Police and Kent County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller unit.

TDC then visit the site to establish the extent of the encampment, make records of the number of caravans, tents or persons, complete required welfare checks, make records of vehicle registration plates and take photographs where necessary.  Welfare checks are required by law and any welfare concerns are escalated to the relevant support agencies or departments.

If no concerns for welfare are raised or can not be evidenced, a Notice is served detailing an imminent departure time.

If welfare concerns are raised and can be evidenced or the encampment is in a location that causes no safety concerns and there are no other anti-social or criminal behaviours present then Government guidance states that the encampment should be tolerated for a short period of time.

If the encampment remains past the time detailed on the Notice, a first court hearing is requested. The timescales in order to carry out appropriate checks and obtain hearings may mean there is 7-10 days between first visit to the encampment and the first court hearing.

If agreed by Magistrates, the court will issue a summons to the occupants of the encampment requiring attendance at a second hearing.  This is then served on the occupants by the council with police support.

The court can schedule this second hearing at anytime they see fit. The council cannot influence this timescale.

At the second hearing the court considers granting an order for removal; if granted this is then served on the occupants and gives them a date and time by which they must leave the land they are camped on.

If this order is not complied with then the council has to instruct bailiffs to forcibly remove the occupants and their vehicles.


  1. I remember when Local Councils were obliged to provide appropriate sites for Travellers to park up. There were never enough so some became fully occupied at times. But, at least, they reduced the amount of moving around that travellers had to do. And they had suitable facilities for waste disposal etc.

    The problem is not solved by just moving groups of Travellers off one illegal site to another. We shouldn’t forget that it is much cheaper for Councils to provide an area of hard-standing and plumbing facilities for a range of caravans than to provide enough houses and flats to accommodate all the people in those caravans.
    So caravan-dwellers might be seen as saving us harassed rate-payers a lot of money in the long run, as all those people are not turning up at the Council requesting a house or flat. They just want a permanent piece of tarmac to call their own.

    • I think I would go along with most of that and how about placing the permanent sites next to the council refuse site, then they would have absolutely no excuse for not dropping off the day’s load on the way home, instead of fly tipping it in a farmers field and how about suggesting that TDC give them a preferential rate on their waste carriers licence!!! Roll that out across the country and we have ‘nearly’ solved the problem. All it needs is a government/council with enough bottle and much larger police force to implement it.

  2. Charge them a deposit to use a permanent site some of which would be repaid if site left clean and tidy

  3. I love it that my local councillor champions the rights of thhe travellers. Firstly the local travellers sites are not used by the travellers. Secondly local residents face abuse from travellers when they encamp at Jackie Bakers Rec park. They also face destruction of property,gas cylinders being left. Human waste left on the park. The park becomes a no go area for residents some of whom she represents. In an area with not much outdoor recreation. Maybe Councillor Constatine can represent her local people for a change and council tax payers. Plus suggest how local rights can be violated and people abused. She can comment on why the local police do not care when contacted about abuse from these travellers. Maybe she could arrange a meeting with the people who she represents and discuss these peoples rights. Especially as these travellers fail to use designated east kent areas given to them. Whilst she is at it the local councillor can explain why local people who go to Jackie Bakers Rec when the travellers are there are told to get off the park by the travellers or nearly run down by motorbikes and wuad bikes used by these travellers. What a joke of a local councillor.

  4. Trefor Williams describes a lot of the problems associated with Travellers not having legally provided sites to go to.So they park their vans on land that is not suitable and cause conflict. So why rant on about Councillor Constantine who is actually proposing the obvious solution? The point is to move on from complaining about it and actually DOING something. Councillor Constantine is doing just that but Mr Williams seems to be still stuck at the complaining stage.

    • Umm yes am complaining when my child was threatened by a traveller for playing football on the rec. Complaining for seening dirty nappies thrown onto the grass. Complaining as a horse left in burning hot sun and complaining due to verbal abuse given to anyone who not a traveller. Complaining when helped clear the park and never saw councillor constantine anywhere their then or at any time. I would invite the councillor to.come round and discuss to one of her resident and his 8 year old son why these people are above the law and can abuse residents. Plus who have to listen to blaring shouting till 0200 hours and get run down by quad bikes. When there are 2 sites local in east kent that these people refuse to use. Does the poster above believe an 8 year old boy should be verbal and physically threatned. Does he belive this is right. Umm i do not think so. If there was no sites in east kent then fine. There are 2 and the travellers refuse to use these. Does councillor constatine represent the local area and the rights of residents abused including an 8 year old child. If not maybe she should go.

    • Umm i suggest you read what i posted. They have 2 sites in east kent and refuse to use these. I invite the above to visit these sites. Do not worry about my 8 year old son being abused by these travellers. Does tje aove suggest this is right. Or the quad bikes nearly runnning over peolle. I will complain when my family put at risk and i have the democratic right to do so. Also why should residents be abused by people not care about what they are doing. I am asking that the law is followed and people not abused and that tbese travellers use the sites they have and refuse to do. However i am sure if the poster above son or family member qas a abused and could not go to a park he likes then he would not complain. Plus the counsellor supports thw right of someone to complain or not maybe.

  5. Once again, after we have all hurled bitter accusations at the travellers and at people who are looking for a solution to the problem, can we not sit down and identify a sensible course of action?
    Moving them on from one site just means they have to look for another, probably just as unsuitable.
    Just piling up extra accusations against them is not a solution. It just gets people riled up and angry. But doesn’t solve the issue. Nobody is asking for “peace, love and understanding” towards the travellers. Just looking for ideas that might satisfy all parties.

    • Umm so local residents do not count. Please answer are the travellers above the lae. The law in litter where a normal thanet resudent would be fined 80 pounds. Yes or No? Are they against the law when comes to aggressive behaviour without provocation. Yes or No? Is it expected that anyome whoever they are can abuse an 8 year old boy. Yes or No? Can these people risk other peoples health and safety laws by riding quad bikes and motorcycles on a public park where local children and adults go to do activities and leave human waste over the area. Yes or no? Is it right that they rip doen fences,dig holes, dump waste and then tell local residents to get out of a public park. Yes or No?
      Mine is an allegation backed up by 12 people and then video evidence. Would the poster above like to see that evidence as the police have. Would theu like to explain the actions of these people to my 8 year old son.
      The above poster may be well meaning but fails to read and answer my concerns and I see likes to think they are taking the.moral high ground.
      These travellers have 2 sites in east kent. As they do not use them, why would we need to provide a 3rd in Thanet. Also even if like to argue for that, how is our esteemed coumcillor and the poster going to guarantee my son, his friends, local residents rights under the following: The Equality Act. The Human Rights Act. The Health and Safety Act. Plus also criminal acts related to abuse.
      Again these travellers have designated sites in east kent. They are not full as suggested, anyone please feel free to visit them, i did recently.
      Maybe the above poster could actually answer how they and our esteemed councillor plan to protect local residents.
      The poster above at no point suggests that the behaviour towards local .residents and children by these travellers is wrong. Why is that?

      • Again, another list of alleged crimes. Don’t tell me about them. Tell the Police! If the Police do not act then that is a matter for them. They make their own decisions based on what they know and what they can do. The local Thanet District Council does not instruct the Police as to who to arrest and charge. Nor do I. Don’t start blaming people who do not have Police powers as if that helps your case.
        In the end, we have to do what is in our power. In this case,local Councillors and local residents may have the ability to arrange permanent traveller sites , if agreed by the Council.
        We may also try to find out why the existing sites are not all used , as you suggest, though I have no idea about that as I don’t frequent traveller sites.I can’t imagine that travellers actually ENJOY having to move every few weeks to unsuitable sites surrounded by hostile residents.
        In the end, travellers are not going to just disappear any more than any other citizens.As I said before, if all the travellers in Thanet decided to give up their caravan lifestyle and turned up at the council requesting accommodation, there would be an even worse housing shortage than now. And then there would be complaints about that as well! If all they want is an area of hardstanding with plumbing and waste disposal, we may be getting a bargain.

        • I think you need are one of those people that cannot bear a discussion or understand how real people live. A bit like the local councillor. It is not alleged. Plus is being investigated thank you. However the council is responible for what have mentioned in other posts. I note a total failure to answer. The travellers have caused damage. Wrecked a nice park and left rubbish and human waste all over it
          Kent county council who provide travellers sites and ohh control the police have 2 sites. They do not use them.
          So why would we provide one. Please go see what the travellers have done and maybe next time they are back you can observe for a day and see what they do to local residents.
          However I also stated maybe my local coumcillor could hold a meeting. We could then see how many in her ward agree with you and her. It is called democracy. But as you are not bothered when a young person gets attacked and seem to condone thos behaviour I cannot see the point in leaving messsages here. As residents in the councillors ward we will invite her to disciss her comments and hopefully she can show some more sense than some comments here.

          • I don’t condone criminal behaviour at all. But I am looking to move forward.By all means ,let Police action take place. But , meanwhile, what is being proposed? Except more angry denunciations. Even if the angry denunciations magically cause the travellers to move on, without somewhere suitable to move to, they will just set up camp somewhere else difficult and then there will be more people complaining. It has to stop somewhere. Calling a meeting with a local councillor so that angry people can feel better by berating her for something outside her control will not move the travellers one inch. In the end, the local council has to find a solution, and they will have to find it by consultation with all parties to the dispute. That will not be easy if one side in the dispute restricts itself to angry accusations but doesn’t actually propose anything apart from the desire that, somehow, the travellers are made to go away. At least, for now.

          • Are you seriously suggesting that local people have no right to discuss their legitimate concerns with their elected representatives. Plus one of your posts suggested a meeting. Therefore which would you rather a meeting or no meeting. Or are you suggesting that any meeting cannot discuss residents concerns. You cannot have it both ways.
            In regard to your previous post where you say that if they gave up their life they would cause further problems to the housing waiting list. Well yet again they have 2 sites. One of which is near Canterbury which is not so far. They refuse to use this. Say you got your site for them. How much will you charge them? What action would you suggest if they did not use any such site and continued to destroy property and scare residents (once the police investigation has been concluded I will update you) If they did this and continued to use parks. What penalty would you suggest?
            Also most are from out of area. I think you find most have property and therefore would not be able to claim for council or housing association property. If they did give up this life then any council and DWP would search the Land Registry (that way property ownership would be checked, in case yoy think.I am making allegations up again )Therefore not adding to housing list. Also if you been to Jackie Bakers you would see the majority have new BMW’s and Merc’s. One had a posh horse box. Therefore they could if they gave up their life sell these and pay private rent.
            I am not asking them to do this. You are suggesting this in your post. However yet again you fail to note that they have sites nearby that they do not use. Plus they still have no right to break UK laws and destroy parks that are for everyone. Again residents can five evidence of this.
            I note no answer to the laws I highlighted. I can therefore only sumarise that you not aware of these. I wonder if the local counsellor is.
            You state that everything is an allegation. You are right they are. Some of these allegations for investigation fall on the CPS and Police and some the council. Are you suggesting that allegations made should not be investigated?
            Lets look at this:
            1) Do they have local sites they can use. Answer yes. 2 in east kent.
            2) Are these used. Answer no not to any capacity. One near Canterbury often not even half full.
            3) If these travellers have UK or Irish property should they be able to go on local council housing list. Answer no that would be illegal.
            4) Is the laws I highlighted before applicable to everyone. Answer yes.
            5) Do the local residents have the right to discuss concerns with their elected councillor. Especially after comments made by her in a recent article. Answer of course they do. How you suggest this be an angry meeting. Why would the local councillor be angry?
            You state that we have to sort something out a solution. If these travellers used the local sites and there was an overflow then yes Kent County Council would look into other sites. KCC have the travellers unit. Last time I looked this was their responsibility not TDC.
            I am glad you not condone the behaviour. I would suggest their is no evidence for what you propose. Indeed I think very strong evdience to the contary can be provided.
            Not once have you provided any evidence or an convincing argument to back up what you suggest. Not once have you been able tp answer about concerns over the protection of residents regarding UK laws. Lastly you suggest that residents would be angry if had any meeting with the elected official. What right you got to say that?
            You forget that the local councillor made comments on this subject. People who she serves have the right to discuss her views.

          • This is just becoming “a dialogue of the deaf” with no progress made. You are establishing beyond any doubt just how completely awful the travellers are and how there is nothing that can be done that solves the problem to the satisfaction of all parties to the conflict. Nothing more can be done because you have closed down all suggestions as being unworkable. So be it.

  6. Lol you mean you do not want to answer anything I have said. I think it is you with the closed mind. I think you need to research your subject and know the facts which you clearly cannot and for some reason will not accept or attempt to debate.
    All through my posts I have asked questions that are relevant following your posts. You have yet to answer any. Lets see if the local counsellor can. Basically you say we must provide the travellers with something they already have.
    Anyway any reader here for or against this issue can clearly see that when asked something related to your views you have buried your head in the sand. Plus refuse to answer. Not the way in a democracy.

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