Travellers call for more sites

tis  Travellers caravans on land next to the Hydro.  (120402M5b)
tis Travellers caravans on land next to the Hydro. (120402M5b)

PERMANENT sites for travellers would help prevent them camping illegally on public land.

That is the view of Damian Le Bas, editor of the Travellers’ Times website, when a group of travellers was given notice to quit two sites in Harrogate.

He said: “There aren’t enough permanent residential sites and there also aren’t enough permanent transient sites to enable people to stay for two or three weeks and then move on.

“If we had more of both of those kinds of sites, we wouldn’t have as many of these cases of people stopping on recreation grounds and so on.”

In the Harrogate district, the council needs to provide 14 pitches for travellers as part of its district development plan, currently being drawn up.

Mr Le Bas said the government had pledged to build 620 new permanent sites by 2015, which was still only around 20 per cent of what was needed – and only about half of them would be built anyway. And he said that, while people objected to travellers using common land and other public sites, there were also protests against permanent sites being created, leaving travellers with nowhere to go.

Harrogate Council ordered a group of travellers to leave land near the Hydro on Monday and filed court papers that afternoon. The group eventually left by Thursday morning, but moved to the Dragon Road car park.

A further notice to quit was issued for 1pm that day, but a council spokesman said if the travellers failed to comply, any court proceedings were likely to be delayed because of the Easter weekend.