Dorset councils team up to form travellers plan


All nine councils in Dorset have agreed to team up in a bid to identify sites for travellers over the next 15 years.

The authorities are aiming to produce a plan for enough permanent and transit pitches needed for the county.

It comes as councils across the county struggle to find the 425 pitches as required by the government by 2011.

The councils partnership, which admits the 425 target is "unrealistic", will ask landowners and the public to help find suitable locations.

Following consultations, a plan will be drawn up over the next two or three years.

Impose sites

Dorset County Council member for environment Robert Gould said: "This is an important piece of work.

"While a gap between the accommodation needs of travellers and the number of available authorised sites remains, trespass and the problems associated with that are bound to continue."

The government hopes that having traveller and gypsy sites set up by local authorities, rather than unauthorised sites, would be beneficial socially.

Local authorities were required to assess the need for gypsy and traveller accommodation, as well as the housing requirements of the rest of the population, under the Housing Act 2004 and then develop a strategy.

The government could impose sites on local authorities if they fail to identify them.

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