Thanet council working on ‘action plan’ to find solution to unauthorised Traveller camps in the district

A Traveller group is currently set up in Newington

An action plan is being developed by Thanet council to deal with the growing number of unauthorised Traveller encampments in the district.

A working group has been set up to investigate the issue and  look at areas including Traveller accommodation, security measures and increased enforcement at high risk areas.

The news was revealed at a full council meeting tonight (July 11) in response to a question from Dane Valley councillor Gary Taylor.

Dane Valley Green is one of the areas persistently used by Traveller groups. In 2017 a request was made by Cllr Taylor and a colleague to Thanet council for a ditch to be cut along the perimeter and the soil used to make mound, sewn with wild flowers,  as a preventative measure.

However, this did not take place and encampments continued, making up a large proportion of the 55 unauthorised camps last year compared to just two in 2013.

Dane Valley Green Photo John CrippsA report commissioned by Thanet council says the district should provide five Traveller pitches -to accommodate 10 caravans – in the five year period up to 2022 and then an additional two pitches – equating to four more caravans- by 2031.

The Thanet Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) was commissioned in July 2017, and carried out by consultants arc4 to identify the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople  from across Thanet.

There are currently no authorised pitches in Thanet district.

Tonight Cllr Taylor asked: “How is the new administration going to tackle the expensive Traveller incursions?”

Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Lesley Game, replied: “A significant amount of activity is underway to address the growing number of unauthorised encampments in the district. In 2018 these rose to 55. We are developing a strategy to ensure resources are targeted as effectively as possible.”

She said a new  task group had been set up in February and they would be working on the action plan.

A spokesman from the Friends, Families and Travellers organisation has previously told The Isle of Thanet News that a lack of official sites is forcing groups to pull up on public land and not enough is being done to address that issue.

They added: “It would appear that there is a need in Thanet for authorised sites to be built. We would recommend that the district council and local authority work with the Traveller community in the area to identify land that would be suitable for building new sites to accommodate these residents.”

A Traveller group is currently set up on the Chatham and Clarendon owned field at the rear of Newington primary school.

The school is aware of the situation.

15 Comments

  1. Canterbury has an action plan, they went to court to get a blanket ban on public land which is possible if the authority can show that illegal encampments are so prevalent that it puts a vast strain on council coffers. The amount we have had to put up with in Thanet in recent years far exceeds many areas so this would be the sensible way forward. If TDC can communicate with Canterbury city Council then they should get the drift and put into action without further delays and expense. Canterbury has identified traveller pitch but it is underused at the best of times due to the travellers prefering to camp where they like rather than where the council would like them so having the extra expense of sites in Thanet would be a waste of money and time. We don’t need cllrs fussing about, just get a blanket ban in operation in Thanet and be done with illegal public encampments along with fly-tipping and human excrement waste dumping.

    • The blanket ban you talk about is actually a planning injunction under the town and country planning act. In May of this year, it was challenging in the high court and the travellers won. Its not worth the paper its writen on.

    • A blanket ban will not solve the issue. There needs to be sites in Thanet for Travellers and they should be allowed to provide their ow.

    • just sort it out t.d.c. otherwise local people wont put up with FLY TIPPING on land.if we drop a fag butt we get charged 60 quid.if we break into private land take the pi×× let livestock interupt traffick thats ok?then let our councillors spend a couple of mill on expenses.come on thanet they r taking the piss!!

  2. What’s the point of a meeting the council never do anything about the travellers waste of our money .they soon do something if it was a member of the public parking a caravan in a field .or dumping rubbish .councilers get paid well to sort things out do your job .there a lot needs doing which is important. Drains cleared .pot holes but travellers oh they get social to see how they are when they arrive .they have more money then we do .do your job get rid of them

      • Tell you what next time theyre on the green just pop along, youll see all the evidence u neec from public indecency, deficating, fly tipping, loose dogs, noise pollution from generators, untaxed vehicles… The list goes on

  3. Hmmmm . . . new task group set up five months ago – but no action yet ?

    Why is it that we only seem to have problems with “travellers” during the summer months ?

    Where do they travel to during the winter – or do they stay at home ?

  4. Thanet council need to get tough on travellers if only for the rubbish left behind send in armed police to check for firearms and illegal weapons confiscate cars and vans if they leave a mess but it won’t happen as it’s against their human rights if it was a tax payer they’d get life in prison!

  5. Put in a transit site. Allow Travellers to buy their own land and live on it. Everyone happy except the ‘nimby’s’ the prejudice and, last and very much least, the racist’s

  6. Our M.P.’s need to push for legislation to make one unauthorised camp a hefty fine with siezure of vehicles and caravan if not paid and trebling the penalty if a second encampment appears.

  7. Jack.jones you seemed to think.the travelers have right .we should provide sites for them .Why don’t you pay for a site then .then when they move on you can clear their rubbish .

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