Councillors to discuss proposal for three temporary Traveller sites in Thanet

Ramsgate Port is one of the proposed sites

Temporary “tolerated sites” for Travellers could be created at the former education space at Tivoli Brooks, Margate; Ramsgate Port car park and Potten Street car park in St Nicholas-at-Wade.

The aim would be to use the sites on a rotation basis to alleviate the issue of unauthorised camps on the isle.

Thanet currently does not have an authorised Traveller site, with the nearest being in Canterbury and Dover.

An action plan is being developed by Thanet council and a working group has been investigating the issue, looking at areas including Traveller accommodation, security measures and increased enforcement at high risk areas.

An update from the council’s Travellers Review sub committee, due to be discussed by councillors on November 19, says work to identify sites resulted in five suggestions.

The Tivoli, Potten Street and Port proposals have been earmarked as the preferred options.

Rise in unauthorised camps

Unauthorised encampments at sites including Dane Valley, Marina Esplanade, Government Acre and the car park by Dreamland have risen sharply from two in 2013 to 55 last year and 53 so far this year.

A report to councillors says: “Since 2018, numerous incursions in Thanet have been as a result of two family groups. These families whilst comprising of individually small groups (6-8 caravans) are a draw to other more transient groups meaning that incursions vary from 5-6 vehicles to in excess of 20. This group is linked to the 50+ incursions within the district in 2018 and most of the incursions in 2019.”

According to the report some 70 locations across Thanet have been assessed as vulnerable to vehicle based unauthorised encampments.

Proposed measures

Photo Swift Aerial Photography

A programme of additional security measures for locations is under discussion but the council says this will take several years to put into action.

A district wide Public Space Protection Order is being considered across foreshore and cliff top locations and legal advice has been sought as to the use of the current Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) PSPO covering Margate and Ramsgate town centres to tackle the issue of waste being dumped at sites.

Thanet council says the exact cost of clearing sites is not possible to establish as it takes place as part of everyday workloads, however a separate clearance undertaken at Dreamland car park this year cost £560.

Legal advice has also been sought as to the use of existing bye laws for overnight camping in specific parts of the district.

‘Tolerated’ pitches’

A need for 7 permanent and 5 transit vehicle pitches in Thanet has also been identified. Temporary tolerated pitches – where unauthorised encampments stay for an agreed amount of time – are currently being examined.

The report to councillors says: “This enables smoother enforcement on those unauthorised encampments which chose to ignore the direction and stay on other land. A temporary tolerated site also allows easier management of amenities such as waste collection and toilet provision, reducing the impact on the local area. A temporary tolerated site will also provide provision whilst working on longer term resolutions to fill the required allocation. Immediate planning permission would also not be required for a temporary tolerated site due to short term use.”

The cost of implementing the sites is yet to be established. Each site has been discussed by the Traveller review group with representations from the KCC Gypsy and Traveller liaison team. Representatives of Traveller communities in the district were also invited to attend the meetings but were unable to do so.

It is expected that further work will be carried out to assess the feasibility and cost of the three temporary tolerated sites.

Minster services

There is also a bid to create an authorised site at land by Minster Services,.

Representatives of Blinkbox, which has directors in Canterbury and Ramsgate, and Joseph Jones of the Gypsy Council have been in discussions about the site.

Mr Jones (pictured), 67, says the aim is for the site to accommodate between nine and 15 vans, through three permanent and seven transient pitches, with associated facilities. The arrangement will be to take a 99 year lease on the land.

Mr Jones says sites currently in Kent are well-managed and communities are integrated through children going to local schools and families using local shops and businesses. In Maidstone the Gypsy Council has worked on building  a school and community centre.

He said: “People naturally integrate through using the shops and schools. People get to know each other.”

He said issues currently arise due to communities not being familiar with each other, saying: “If you are met by hostility then you will also be hostile. No one knows each other and our people aren;t there long enough for people to get to know them.”

Speaking of the temporary pitch proposals Mr Jones added: “It’s nice to see a positive move towards a responsibility to provide, but I still feel there is room for a permanent site too. In Leeds, Yorkshire, they have a tolerated site policy, well tried and tested and it’s good that TDC are looking in that direction.”

The council report will be discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the council offices in Margate from 7pm on Tuesday (November 19).

26 Comments

  1. This might work. Constantly moving people on just transfers the problem somewhere else. If the travellers end up abandoning their way of life , it will just mean that several families will then be competing with others to buy or rent houses in the area. Which is hardly a solution. Providing temporary sites, and seeing how it goes, is much cheaper than providing settled accommodation.

  2. The hostility arises mainly from the lawless society these incursions bring with them. nobody is going out of their way to be hostile towards them, they make sure nobody goes near them by chasing anyone away. They travel with numberplates removed or covered by blankets and the authorities allow it. Why, when those trying to live a decent, honest life are always having difficulties managing should they see these lawless groups come in, take over and get away with hostility towards them while the authorities does very little to manage them. Also having their filthy mess cleaned up behind them every time they move on, paid for by council tax? There needs to just be a blanket ban on travellers such as these groups who care for nothing but themselves as they are not welcome here. We have enough problems to deal with without importing them to special sites paid for by our taxes.

    • well said and I reiterate this
      filthy dirty
      have no manners
      do not allow anyone to go near them
      and instigate fights and leave the mess for us to cop the bill

      if they do they have to pay and abide by our town rules which need to implemented
      no filth or you will move on
      no fights or you will end up in jail forever call yourselves gypsies more like filthy dirty leeches

    • Who are you to speak for the people of Thanet? There are many Travellers and Gypsies living in houses in Thanet who you do not represent! I personally would prefer Travellers in the area then bigoted, prejudiced and racist people. As for your registration plate comment are you asking us to believe the police would ignore a van hiding its plates! Council tax? Do you know the criteria for council tax? Please do not let your prejudice blind you to stupidity.

  3. and most of them were getting their kids to steal from the shops Mr Jones …if your lot cannot integrate then you will be banned from any part of thanet the mess you left the filth you make is deplorable

    fight your own people not ours who live in peace
    gypsies have always caused fights

    one fight you will be banned forever Mr Jones

  4. I work damn hard what do gypsies do
    make a mess live in filth and squalor
    pay no tax

    you are not welcome unless you pay council tax and a town tax for clearing your pile of shit which I cleaned up so did this community of ours

    right now you are not welcome here

  5. “The cost of clearing up their mess at Dreamland is not quantifiable as it is part of everyday workloads’?????
    Whilst OUR PAID FOR workmen clear the Travellers’ mess up they are not keeping the streets of Thanet clean, something we tax payers pay them to do for us.
    What a joke that comment was. Firstly the cost SHOULD be known and recorded. Secondly, the Travellers should be made to pay council tax at the exact same rates that we do.
    As for the residents living in the Tivoli area, keep your eyes and ears on alert, I feel you will need to.

    • Tivoli Brooks. What a great place for a Travelers Site. Next door to Jewsons, SC Motor Factors and Howdens. It will be Christmas every day for the Travelers for their special type of shopping.

    • Do you actually know how council tatsx is considered to be liable? If you did you wouldn’t post such rot about Travellers on an unauthorised encampment paying CT.

  6. Thanet council says the exact cost of clearing sites is not possible to establish as it takes place as part of everyday workloads

    What cobblers! Who do we employ at TDC ? as a manager I price every job, how hard is it to work out how much it is to clear their mess ?. Cost of manpower, trucks, fuel, cost of disposal etc etc . Not a hard thing to do unless you work for TDC I guess !

  7. I am pleased to hear that TDC is taking this proposal forward. It is the only intelligent response to helping both communities to become better neighbours.
    Continuing hostilities (Rebecca) will only guarantee more of the same.

    • These people can’t integrate! They go around local businesses having work done and then the mob turn up and refuse to pay… they talk prior int having work done on their homes and then do a half arsed job for double the price of a proper job and then threaten you when you don’t pay and go around steeling honest hard working men’s tools
      Theses are experienced facts unfortunately…. nothing is off limits when you are a law unto yourselves
      I really hope that this does not happen, I think the idea in itself is totally offensive.
      What would happen if I/you stopped paying tax and started behaving like this, It would certainly catch up with us, it’s disgusting behaviour. Bullies

      • The trading standard in this country are one of the strictest in Europe..Fact! To suggest people pay for half complete work is laughable. ANY cowboys will fall foul to TS and do often.

  8. Where do they go in winter months?. And why don’t they stay there. Thanet has become a dumping ground for life’s unwanted. If they can do what they want then us locals should be able to do the same, but we can’t because we live by the law. Shame on Thanet council for lack of back bone to stand up to them and making locals pay the price. If the money was spent on improvements not cleaning up after these low life’s maybe locals could be proud of Thanet.

    • Are you one of those ‘dumped: in Thanet? There is a thriving multicultural community growing in Thanet. If you don’t want to be part of it you could always go dump yourself elsewhere. No loss.

  9. This TDC nonsense about it taking years to do anything is drivel. Other councils have put injunctions in place protecting their vulnerable public places in line with the Home Office paper that advises councils on the measures available to them. I have repeatedly brought this official paper to the attention of my local councillors and Mackinley. Maybe no one in Cecil Square has learnt to read yet.
    P

    • Repeatedly brought the issue of Travellers to the notice of the authorities? It’s a wonder they haven’t blocked you as a vextious curtain twitcher

  10. There is nothing to discuss! They are not welcome here, and they know it.
    They will just tantalize and torment every Council Tax paying Resident in the whole area. It’s in their blood.
    Apart from using, and leaving, certain parts of countryside and Parks covered in excrement, stealing from shops, homes, Gardens, and fighting in our favourite Pubs… they are a blight of useless beings.
    Thanet is not the place them and we should make our voices heard at Council, ASAP!!!

  11. Wherever these official sites are I trust there will be a weekly rent charged in advance with a deposit also demanded to cover any clean up needed afterwards. Of course this should be via card payment only and no cash accepted. It’s only right that they should contribute to the services they are demanding.

  12. I agree with Thanetian Blind’s comments and would like to know if the Travellers will have to pay to use the authorised sites? And if not, why not – no tax paying citizen can take their own caravan and just go to a site without paying. TDC will be incurring costs to set up and manage these sites and such costs should be fully covered by the Travellers paying a fee to stay there.

  13. Why not ensure a cash deposit for a pitch? Anyone, in any part of the country expects to leave a deposit for the use of someone else’s land!

  14. Good to dee the council at last getting to grips with reality and the issue of dealing correctly with these homeless people Travellers are statutorily considered homeless! If you don’t like the law take it up with the law makers.

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