Proposals for temporary tolerated Traveller sites at Potten Street car park at St Nicholas and land at Shottendane Road in Margate are expected to be put on hold.
Thanet council is now expected to launch a ‘call for sites’ through its Local Plan review which will mean privately owned land, as well as plots owned by the authority, could be put forward to be considered for the use instead.
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.”
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.
Cllr Reece Pugh raised objections to the inclusion of Potten Street, saying it would be unsafe for use due to the busy road and questioned why there had been no consultation on the proposals.
He also launched a petition against both proposals, saying the sites would put those staying there in danger.
Now Cabinet members at Thanet council are expected to agree to the open call when they meet on September 17.
Cllr Pugh said: “It appears from the published agenda for Cabinet that TDC have decided to drop the proposals for temporary traveller sites at Potten Street car park and land at Shottendane Road.
“TDC will now put to Cabinet a call for sites to landowners to be included in the Local Plan Review for a permanent site. This is a suggestion that I made some weeks ago and I am delighted that TDC have taken this decision. This process needs to be transparent and completely open to scrutiny from the public and the Local Plan Review will allow this to happen.
“This is a relief for residents in St Nicholas at Wade and Garlinge and for the Traveller community I’m sure, who will not be required to stay at an unsafe site. The proposals were flawed from the beginning and risked the misuse of public money through public consultations when Thanet District Council already knew the considerable opposition from residents.
“I have no doubt that the petition went some way to helping TDC realise that the two sites were not the best options.
“If agreed by Cabinet next week, I will be watching closely to see which land is offered for this purpose to ensure that we do not have a repeat of this.”
‘Robust engagement process’
A report to Cabinet members says: “Over the last six months, especially considering the impact of the global pandemic there has been a significant amount of change and as part of this the Council is reviewing how it delivers services in the future and how it can maximise the benefits of revenue opportunity from existing assets, which include some potential sites previously identified for use.
“There has been significant interest from stakeholders and local residents regarding a temporary tolerated site including commentary on suitability of sites, level of need and other locations. In order to capture this information and understand the views of all those with an interest in temporary stopping sites a robust engagement process is required.
“The identification of possible temporary stopping sites has previously been restricted to land owned by Thanet District Council, a change in process has the potential to widen the scope for other sites to be identified.
“The Local Plan has recently been adopted and is now subject to a review process. Part of this process has a defined consultation and the ability to place a general call to landowners to put forward sites for specific uses.”
Members of the Traveller and Gypsy community will be involved in the call for sites process, says the report.
Speaking of the temporary pitch proposals Joseph Jones, of the Gypsy Council, previously told The Isle of Thanet News: “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 aim is to use 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.
Thanet council deputy leader Helen Whitehead, who is also responsible for housing strategies, previously 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.
“I welcome any feedback in relation to the sites. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org “
Great news for St. Nicholas (hopefully!).
Any potential land owners who would like to donate their land to the travellers would I suggest take a long walk round dane valley encampment and see the amount of building, human & household waste that had just been dumped into the side verges . May I also remind potential land owners it will be there responsibility for clearing rubbish and human waste off the site and not the travellers.
Maybe they could use your wheelie bin or TDC provide some bins at a small charge
Here we go again. Moan moan moan about the rubbish. However it’s sad that you people seem to have three memory off a gnat. The travellers every time ask for bins to be provided for them to use and every time the council refuse so tell me and everyone’s else what they should do? However sadly basically whatever they did worked never be good enough for you people. Face the fact that you are bigoted against Travellers pure and simple. They have tried to buy land for a legal site blocked by people like you. As have these sites. Come on tell me what should they did what would please you?
You are talking rubbish again I see. The council have provided household bins for travellers in the parks. Nobody gets bins for all other waste though for free, they have to get rid of it at the council tip for a fee or pay the council £25 for 5 items. The travellers don’t pay to get rid of any of their waste they just fly-tip it. How do you find that acceptable?
WE don’t owe them anything, not even a place to live as Cllr Whitehead believes, as they are not from Thanet. Do they come all the way across the country for a free holiday in Thanet, no paying for a site like most caravanners? So it seems ! We do not encourage them to come to Thanet at our expense so why do people like you take offence when people have something to say about the abuse they cause us when they get here? Come on now if you think about it instead of insulting the law-abiding public and residents then you should see where people are coming from in their complaints. If the travellers were not so abusive to locals and kept their patch clean and tidied up before going then there would not be half as many complaints. There is nothing bigoted about this.
The resident racist on the rant again. Cant slag off lack people anymore so now hitting on Travellers at every opportunity.
The land owner would be renting the land not donating it.
Jacky Bakers would be an ideal site
Goodwin Sands would be better!
So funny. Why such racist bigoted attitudes to people who just want to follow their traditions and do it legally but at every turn they are blocked and demonised by racist attitudes
It’s not racism, as they’re white, the same as me!
Some may say Goodwin Sands might be the place for Nazies like you…for yoh must be a nazi for only a nazi would imply murdering people becuase of their ethically…are people aware of your extreme ideology?
Research you born idiot …racism is not just about colour of skin. The peole in question are a ethnic minority and the counts recognise them as a race under the equality act 2010.
Yes Jimmy jacky Bakers would be a good site not very far from where I live and I have no problem with them I do realise I’m one of the few people who will be happy to have them close by. Their is good and bad in all communities as we all know, only one thing I hope it has no covenant on it that bars erecting any form of wall or buildings, otherwise it will be a good area.
You are joking! I much prefer the Goodwin sands suggestion!
As for good and bad in all, the Travelling community seem to have a disproportionate amount of the latter. NONE of them, good or bad, pay their way in society – you know simple, basic things such as income tax, National health contributions, council tax et.al., but simply use all the benefits of society that the rest of us pay for.
About time they were brought in line with the ways we all have to live in our communities.
Ton…you let your racism get the better of any intelligence you may have. You think people living in caravans on the side of the road etc should pay council tax?
Do you have any evidence they dont pay income tax or NH conteibutions? They seem to have company signs on tbeir vehicles which suggest they do indeed pay all taxes they are obliged to. The police and the council will havs noted the company signs and would act if they were not correct. Stop reading the sun with your fry up breakfast both are not good for your health
“All our communities deserve appropriate housing?” How are they our community? They are on holiday from someplace else? They turn up at the holiday season in the height of summer, stay in their £40,000 caravans towed by their £20,000 brand new cars and brand new vans and we give them free land, right? WTF! What the actual fuck! Can I have free land to park my massively expensive caravan on, please? I want a holiday spot. Give me one I am part of the community. I could easily afford a camping fee but I don’t want to pay. Give me free land! For my holiday! Racists! Give me free holiday land!
These familys have been obiting around Thant for the last 10 years and other Travellers for longer than that. There is a sizable community of Travellers in Thanet in housing as well as in Caravans…wake up as you are kneeling down to renounch racisim.
They need to stay put in their home town as this year some of them tested covid positive and they would just spread it!
They have been in the area for years back and forth..
So this will be councillor Whiteheads new pet project, a shame she wasn’t so keen to respond to her constituents emails regarding the homeless hostel. Will this be forced through with no community liason when a “suitable/convenient” site is found.
Can you imaging the sort of ‘community liason’ that would be forthcoming…read these comments to get a drift.
Thank goodness for the ‘DFL’s’..helping the slack jawed racists to become half civilised
Here we go again. New sites will be identified, those local residents and elected members will kick off about it and those plans will be dropped. Whilst this is going on the travellers will have free reign to rock up on any site in Thanet with the cost of moving them escalating every year.
To correct Councillor Whitehead, we have a legal duty to identify sites but, believe me, there is no moral duty. She may think so but her thinking is against the wishes of the majority of Thanet residents. If there was no legal obligation then no local authority would be freely identifying sites like this.
Think about it and a over your prejudice…the council have obligations to people in the area…these people have been in the area for years.. ergo
The old marina carpark would have been perfect, close to the town but apart from local residents and most of the beach area, no problems with traffic, easy to enter and exit , but instead it was sold off a few quid in the council coffers being the preferred option.
Unfortunately somewhere needs to be found and there will be very few that want it near them. But once there is one there can a much less tolerant position regarding illegal camps.
These camps are not ‘illegal’ unauthorised but not illegal.
A very important point.
That point would surely be non existent as and when an official camp is established. Once provision is made any other camp should be illegal. Whilst the travellers have the protections of the law , where is the justification for the behaviours that follow them ( the near riot that followed their night out in margate being a prime example)and their seeming inability to pay tax etc. With rights come responsibilities , or do you see such practices as part of their lifestyle thus exempting them?
Just a few household wheelie bins so they can be emptied weekly coz there must be a dust cart that goes by weekly Just a suggestion so you people don’t moan about rubbish etc not a whole debate on racism You plebs .