Petition raised against proposals for two temporary Traveller sites over fears of road death risk

Cllr Pugh says Ramsgate Port should be among areas reconsidered for the site

Villages ward councillor Reece Pugh has raised a petition asking Thanet council to remove Potten Street car park at St Nicholas and land at Shottendane Road in Margate from proposals for temporary Traveller sites on the isle due to road safety fears.

Cllr Pugh says neither site is a safe area for children because both are on very busy roads and would be placing people at risk .

He said: “Travellers need a temporary site but there are so any better places.

“These sites are not safe. The car park is horrendous for traffic, trucks use it and so do the police. It is not a space for people to live on, even temporarily.

“The same goes for Shottendane Road unless it is going to be widened for access. We do need sites but if we are going to put people in such unsafe areas what is the point? If a little kid wanders into those roads and gets hit and killed by a car the council will have blood on its hands.”

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.

But both Ramsgate Port and Tivoli Brook were then removed from the plans and land off Shottendane Road was added without any meeting by the working group responsible for assessing the sites.

Tivoli Brook was removed due to “the potential commercial development and the opportunity it creates for income generation and employment,” while Ramsgate Port was scrapped from the proposals because it is “presently undergoing a feasibility study and the proposed area is in use for the storage of cars and is returning a revenue, it is also an industrialised area and not suited to families and young children.”

Cllr Pugh says this was done without due process and without any input from the working group.

He added: “We need more than one temporary site so if we only have two going forward they will be approved with no scope for consultation.

“St Nicholas-at Wade Parish Council submitted a petition against the proposal at Potten Street six months ago but it was very quickly disregarded.

“It is a real problem that these decisions are being taken without consulting councillors, parish councils and the public.”

The aim is 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.

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 more than 55 last year.

Cabinet members had been expected to discuss the use of Potten Street and council-owned land off Shottendane at a meeting last month but due to some incorrect paperwork the item was postponed until the next meeting, expected to be on August 19.

Cllr Pugh says consultation cannot be extended to the people who will be living in the 450 proposed houses at Shottendane and  points out that agricultural land also provides revenue.

He said there were better options on the original list of 12 sites and says Ramsgate Port and Tivoli Brooks should be reconsidered.

He said: “For the majority of the year the Port of Ramsgate is empty, there is a dual carriageway and the tunnel for access. Facilities can be provided there. The argument is that the cars being parked there provide revenue but the Port has not provided revenue for the last 10 years.”

Thanet council deputy leader Helen Whitehead, who is also responsible for housing strategies, said: “We have both a legal and a moral duty to plan for temporary tolerated sites, and it is an area of high priority.

“All of our community deserves appropriate housing, and these sites have been put forward for consideration; any necessary works to sites will be fully factored in to any decisions in relation to sites. Communities and interested parties are more than welcome to contact me, as is Councillor Pugh.

“Formal discussion of these sites with communities will be happening, and I welcome any feedback in relation to the sites. I can be contacted at [email protected]

The petition, launched today (August 6) asks Thanet council to conduct a more thorough search and assessment for sites; remove both Potten Street car park and the land at Shottendane Road; compile a list of proposed sites that are safe for occupants and the public and to prioritise the use of brownfield land for new sites.

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 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.

Find the petition here


  1. I don’t know personally but I have been told Potten Street is used by Doggers, so it’s a toss up between doggers or Gypsys they are not travellers they are fly tippers.

  2. Yes Cllr Pugh dump problems in Ramsgate again! Any such traveller site at the port will impede any development plans for leisure etc and blight the Western Undercliff area. However I am sure you will get the support of Roger Gale who is more than happy to run Ramsgate into the ground with his support for the ridiculous rebirth of Manston Airport.

  3. This has got nothing to do with the safety of Traveller children or being exposed to high levels of pollution. You see now that some of the Travellers pitch up in car parks on Ramsgate seafront and allow their kids to play and run around there whilst cars are constantly coming in and out.

    This is purely down to the fact that residents of those local areas don’t want a Traveller site on their doorstep. It’s that simple.

    The problem this causes is that, even if TDC then dismiss the ideas and propose sites in other parts of the district, the Ward Councillors and local residents of that area will then kick off about it too and start petitions. The whole thing will then go round and round in a circle for even longer without anything being sorted. All the time this is happening the Travellers will rock up wherever they want and everyone will moan about it.

    The only way to get this sorted is to designate a couple of authorised stopping sites, provide basic facilities like water supply, toilets and bins and then charge a daily/weekly rent to cover the cost of running these sites. A deposit should also be taken to cover the cost of any clean up operation after they leave.

    Unfortunately, wherever these sites are, they are going to be near where some people live. It’s unfortunate but unavoidable.

  4. A travellers site would have far more impact on a small rural community (where there is zero police presence and little or no shops) than it would near a large town.

    • A different perspective might be that a Traveller camp in a rural location will impact on far fewer people due to population sizes of villages so wouldn’t that be a reason to do it?

      Not saying I agree or disagree with either perspective but just highlighting the different ways of looking at it.

  5. A number of vans have been at Joss Bay for some time in the car park. TDC has supplied bins and I haven’t heard of any issues or seen any adverse comments on social media. There’s still ample space for paying visitors to park.

    • I think one of the issues I saw raised Jenny is that some visitors to the bay got parking tickets for parking on the grass without a valid ticket but the Travellers’ vehicles were left alone without being ticketed.

      That seems a little unfair.

      • The parking enforcement officers are “encouraged” to only ticket vehicles for which there is a good chance of an unpaid fine being enforced, as such travellers and many foreign registered vehicles go untouched. Issuing tickets that cannot be enforced is seen as a “negative performance indicator”. Much of this is prompted by the reaction to the foi request which revealed the number of unpaid tickets. So in true tdc fashion the aim is to ignore some of those that cause problems.

        As for traveller site location, having one near your home will devalue it and make it harder to sell, as such quite understandably bo one wants one near them, the port proposal is quite sensible and the old marina carpark would have been an excellent choice , but again in true tdc manner it was sold off.

  6. Thanetian blind you have said exactly what I would have said but I won’t repeat as soon as I read the headlines I thought this is a new low for people, most of thanet no what this petition is its a a sham full stop. I will be completely honest I would rather have 4 or 5 caravans of travellers next to my back yard than one drug dealing piece of crap. It is the same with all walks of life there is good and bad, travelers here a bad reputation and people in the main are ( frightened by them ) they are only human talk to them as equal and you may even have a very good conversation. I would love to have a penny for everyone in thanet who has done wrong than a pound for everyone who has been perfect in their lives, where is their a difference between a traveller and us, only one they choose to travel in their own home,we have a permanent home stationary.

  7. The problem is the travellers themselves… they have no respect for our(or any) local area. They have zero respect for local people. Whenever they are around crimes like shoplifting and anti social behaviour rocket. They leave waste and feces everywhere they go.
    They are a blight on the landscape of wherever they pitch up and they should not be tolerated.. in thanet or anywhere else.
    All they do is take, take, take without ever giving anything back. They are a drain on council and police resources and a menace to local communities.
    With the councils deficit coursed by the pandemic… why the hell would you even consider funding such projects?
    If, when the travellers turned up, they had even just a slight bit of respect for local areas, businesses or people I would be the first to agree with such sites. But they don’t have no respect for anything. And allowing them into the area will only ever bring said area further down into the gutter.

    • Yorkie the biggest problem is that neither travelers or dwellers give each other a chance, I’ve lived with travelers, Romanian gypsies, and and the original gypsy people within 400mtrs of my house. Each one except original gypsy people were sceptical of us as you of them it only takes a bit of give on both sides and it can and is workable. But people like you have no intentions of giving your fellow humans a chance, given the proper facilities and the will on both sides why shouldn’t it work, do not use the same old things that they will do this or they will that, it will come from both sides,

    • You say that travelers have no respect. Do you wonder why when you notice the lack of respect and even bigotry shown towards them by pretty much every message here? These are people that want to follows their traditions andd at every turn they are demonised, insulted, and open bigotry is almost encourage by most people here. You don’t want them parking illegally they don’t want to either. However the sad small minded nimby blocked them and tried to then blame the victims of this numbness. It’s nothing but disgusting

        • On the flipside however there is a great deal of criminality associated with the overall traveller community, the group that effectively shut down parts of margate as they wanted an afternoon out on their own terms, the distraction robberies at tool shops, selling fake tools, taking over public space and trashing it, by all means live in a corner of a park for a week or two, but leave it clean , don’t fly tip , rent a protaloo.Don’t intimidate other users and don’t trash the grass with quad bikes. How many of these travellers pay tax? Whilst its all very well wanting to live a traditional lifestyle there is still a need to respect the laws of the land and the lifestyles of the settled community.
          Perhaps the decent travellers should deal with the criminal element amongst their own if they wish to be accepted and welcomed.
          Drug dealers and thieves are just as unwelcome in society, perhaps it would be better to leave the traveller tag to one side and instead just look at the behaviour of those in question.
          There was and maybe still is a traveller family in the area who are the politest people you could wish to meet, deal in scrap metal , you leave stuff in the garden or by a skip they’ll always knock and ask if its ok to take it. There’s good and bad in every community , but in some the ratio is a bit too much the wrong way.

  8. Extensive area for a Traveller site totally unused and out of the way let’s welcome them to the Goodwin Sands , I now live in Peterborough we have temporary sites complete with the temporary crime the temporary fly tipping Car racing intimidation, theft , Burglary , drug dealing Hare coursing the odd murder burnt out cars quad bike thefts Red diesel thefts , you welcome in the beast you take the consequences .

    • Yep burnt out and abandoned cars, also known as “travellers taxis” (why pay to get home when you can steal a car. It was common for stolen cars to turn up in the lane near the site that was near challock (at least they didn’t burn them out, police knew where they were but just told you to go and get it) a few years back there was a comstant spate of dumped cars on the thanet way, between the herne bay and whitstable exits. Though that now seems to have been sorted.

  9. when you find me a thanet cllr without an agenda or mp for that matter, thats news. I would not trust any of them to run a bath, let alone a council.

  10. maybe i missed the public tdc consultation re traveller stopping places. maybe it never happened !.
    The commercial port could have been a place for future development of many uses but who wants dust & other considerations from the local long legged contracted incumbent. How those cars in storage get sold,my mystery.
    Tdc can make money from the travellers,just needs people with the can do attitude.

    hey its easily done,why pass by on opportunities.

  11. For all the folk farting on about the ‘risks’ of a traveller site.. Don’t see one of you whining about the folk that live in mobile homes along western under cliff. Funny, that.

    • Yea and lots parked on Victoria parade by George 6th park , looks like some use it to dump I mean park their motor homes their instead of outside their own homes. Plus you have people who live in them all year. Not a good look for the tourist to see an unofficial motor home park.

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