Short stay gypsy and traveller sites sought

An illegal travellers' camp at Moreton Hall last month  ANL-150408-102210009
An illegal travellers' camp at Moreton Hall last month ANL-150408-102210009

Suffolk councils are seeking suggestions for short stay sites for travellers and gypsies to try to cut the number of illegal camps.

Launched today, the ‘Call for Sites’ aims to identify land on which to locate three Short Stay Stopping Sites, of which the county currently has none.

Suffolk has seen 280 unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments between 2009 and July 2015, which cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds each year to deal with.

Suffolk County Council says other counties which have short stay stopping sites have seen ‘a significant reduction in unauthorised encampments’.

Russell Williams, gypsy and traveller lead for the Suffolk Chief Executives Group, said: “Valuable time and resources are currently being used to deal with these encampments. We believe that if we have Short Stay Stopping sites available, the encampments will decrease, freeing up those resources.

“Of course, by having these sites available it also strengthens the position of local authorities and the police when we do have to take legal action.”

The Call for Sites closes on November 15 and Suffolk’s Public Sector Leaders Group will decide which sites to put out for consultation in December 2015, leading to a decision in February 2016 about which sites to put to the planning process.

The Call for Sites booklet, a series of FAQs and details of how to respond are all available at www.suffolk.gov.uk/shortstay