A meeting organised by Blinkbox Properties Ltd, the owner of the land at Minster Services, over proposals for a Traveller site on the land has been cancelled.
Representatives of Blinkbox, which has directors in Canterbury and Ramsgate, and Joseph P Jones of the Gypsy Council were due to be at the public gathering on the site at 10am tomorrow.
However Minster Parish Council has now been informed that the meeting is cancelled and have been told that instead there will be a private meeting between Thanet council, Blinkbox and the Gypsy Council for pre-application advice.
The concreted area, next to the Co-op service station and McDonalds, currently has a retrospective planning application from applicant Hayley Evans for mixed use Lorry park and catering trailer
Joseph Jones of the Gypsy Council previously told a parish meeting that there had been discussions with Thanet District Council which, he said, is looking for two sites for Travellers. However, Thanet council said although the authority was aware of the proposals no discussions had taken place with officers. A spokesman was unable to confirm the number of sites that might be considered by the authority.
Separately, 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.
An update from the council’s Travellers Review sub committee is due on November 19. The Overview and Scrutiny committee meeting will take place at the council offices in Cecil Street from 7pm. Members of the public may attend.
Unauthorised camps have risen from two in 2013 to 50 last year and more than 45 this year.
The Friends, Families and Travellers charity say local authorities need to provide adequate land for travellers to stop as many families are forced to pull up in public spaces and on private land. This leaves many with interrupted access to basic water and sanitation, education and healthcare.
.An FFT spokesman previously told The Isle of Thanet News that sites should be made available, saying: “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.”