Thanet council says welfare checks have been carried out for a group of Travellers who arrived at Palm Bay green on Tuesday (July 28) night.
Around six caravans have been parked at the recreational area. A visit by council officers and police was carried out yesterday.
A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of an unauthorised encampment in Palm Bay. The council’s Community Safety Team visited the group with police on Wednesday (29 July) to carry out welfare checks.
“The Government has set out guidance which states that local authorities should not evict encampments during the pandemic. This has been extended until the end of August 2020.
“Together with the police, the Council’s Community Safety team will continue to monitor the encampment regularly.”
Government guidelines are that to minimise risk during the national coronavirus emergency, unauthorised encampments should not be evicted. Local authorities are encouraged to adopt a negotiated stopping approach for unauthorised encampments instead.
The Friends, Families and Travellers organisation says that in light of the known health inequalities within Gypsy and Traveller communities local authorities should take action that is based on the level of risk experienced by these groups.
Thanet council doesn’t currently have Gypsy and Traveller provision. However, this has come under scrutiny following a huge rise in incursions from just two in 2013 to more than 50 last year.
Proposals for temporary Traveller sites in Thanet will be discussed by council Cabinet members tonight (July 30).
In December approval was given for further work to assess Potten Street in St Nicholas-at-Wade, Tivoli Brook in Margate and Ramsgate Port for use as temporary tolerated stopping sites.
Both Ramsgate Port and Tivoli Brook have been removed from the plans. Councillors will now consider the sites for Potten Street and a new addition of agricultural land off Shottendane Road in Margate.
The aim is to use the sites on a rotation basis to alleviate the issue of unauthorised camps on the isle.
A need for 7 permanent and 5 transit vehicle pitches in Thanet was previously identified in a study for Thanet council. Temporary tolerated pitches are when unauthorised encampments stay for an agreed amount of time.
The council says this means smoother enforcement is easier on those unauthorised encampments which choose 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.
The next steps will be for TDC to create a project plan for bringing the sites forward for use including full costs, timescales, resident engagement and site operational plans.