Dorset temporary traveller site options revealed

Travellers in Poole There are currently three permanent sites in Dorset at Wareham, Blandford and Piddlehinton

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Two locations have been recommended as potential sites for a temporary traveller encampment in Dorset.

The sites in Weymouth and Piddlehinton were identified by Dorset County Council after a call for a temporary site by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner.

Martyn Underhill's request in August was backed by some county councillors.

The authority said it would consult with police and other local councils over the proposed sites.

The recommendations, which were made at the authority's environment overview committee meeting on Tuesday, also included a five-year extension to a temporary site at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, near Tarrant Hinton, from 2015.

This site has been running annually at the August event since 2004.

'Funding withdrawn'

The new temporary site is being created while a plan for further permanent sites is put together.

A report considered by the committee revealed the county council missed out on £1.75m of government funding for a permanent site at Uddens Woods, Ferndown.

It failed to develop the plan within a designated timeframe amid local opposition.

Permanent sites plan

  • There are currently three permanent traveller sites in Dorset - at Wareham, Blandford and Piddlehinton - and a fourth is being built in Shaftesbury
  • In 2010, all nine Dorset councils teamed up to identify permanent sites for travellers up until 2025
  • About 30 sites were put out to public consultation in 2011 and all were rejected by the local authorities
  • The county council has said a development plan for the sites may not be completed until 2017

On average, the council said about 12 unauthorised sites exist in the county at any one time.

It said that figure "significantly reduced" in summer 2012, due to a temporary site being set up near Piddlehinton Enterprise Park.

This site is now a preferred option, along with an area of Weymouth park and ride.

But some councillors raised objections during the meeting, including it being on the main approach to the Weymouth resort which "could turn visitors away".

The recommendations will go to full council on 6 November.

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