1. 'Urgent plan of action' required over traveller sites

    Daniel Clark

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Travellers set up in a car park

    An "urgent plan of action" is required to tackle unauthorised traveller sites in the South Hams, Devon County Council is set to hear.

    The region does not have an authorised site for travellers to move on to, making it more complicated to evict illegal camps.

    A report to councillors at Thursday's meeting says the council will need to identify a piece of land to act as a "transit site".

    A minimum of three to four encampments arrive at the council-owned land in Langage Business Park in Plymouth each year, according to specialist placemaking officer Alex Rehaag.

    She said the council did not have a plan in place to address the "recurring issues", which had caused tensions to rise within the community.

    "There is significant pressure on the authority to resolve unauthorised encampments as soon as possible and the settled community could be a lot more accepting to gypsy and traveller groups if they were on a managed site where they paid for services such as waste collection, rent and council tax."

    If councillors endorse the plans, approval for a selected site would be sought around spring 2021.

  2. Rejected travellers site leads to call for policy review

    Richard Whitehouse

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Plans to create a new travellers’ site in clay country have been rejected and councillors have called for a review of policies around where they should be placed.

    Mr P Crocker had applied to Cornwall Council for a change of use of his land in Rescorla so that it could be used as a travellers’ site by his two sons for two static mobile homes, two touring caravans and two day rooms on the site for just their families.

    The council’s central sub-area planning committee heard the plans had received a number of objections, including from Treverbyn Parish Council which said that the area was already “saturated” with travellers’ sites.

    Cornwall Councillor Matt Luke also said that he was concerned that the majority of new travellers’ sites were being placed in Clay Country, which already has a number of sites, and this planned site would be out of character in the small hamlet.

    Planning officers had recommended the application for approval saying that there was an identified need for more traveller sites in Cornwall and there was no requirement for those pitches to be distributed across Cornwall, only that there should not be a heavy concentration which would change the character of the area.

    The meeting heard that there was a need to learn from the application and use it to help improve the council’s policy on traveller pitches.

    The proposal to refuse the application was agreed with 12 votes in favour, one against and two abstentions.

  3. Video content

    Video caption: Poole Park: Woman's plea over 'mess from illegal encampment'

    Sarah Tanner says her video is a "desperate plea" to the authorities to find a solution.

  4. Covid testing moved from Watford as travellers set up camp

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    A drive-through coronavirus testing site has been moved from Watford to Hemel Hempstead after travellers set up a camp in a car park on Wednesday evening.

    Watford Leisure Centre travellers

    The testing centre at Watford Leisure Centre had been open on Thursdays and Sundays.

    Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said people with a test booked are being redirected to a temporary base at Apsley.

    A CCG statement said: "A group of travellers arrived on the site that was designated for the mobile testing unit.

    "This means that we have had to change arrangements."

    The new address is at the Hertfordshire County Council offices, Aspley Campus, Brindley Way, Hemel Hempstead HP3 9BF.

    Watford Borough Council said it has started legal proceedings to move the travellers on.

    Watford Leisure Centre travellers
    Watford Leisure Centre travellers
  5. Gypsies move on after finding fair really is cancelled

    Around 100 Gypsies turned up at Appleby over the weekend, which would normally be that of the annual horse fair, event though the event had been cancelled.

    The centuries-old event usually attracts thousands of travelling people each June, and thousands of visitors to watch traditional practices such as the horses being washed in the River Eden.

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    The event has no organisers as such, but word went out from Billy Welch, a leading Roma representative, that it should not happen because of Covid-19.

    Mr Welch said some Gypsies believed that unless at least a few horses were sold at Appleby, the fair might not happen again.

    Quote Message: I didn't attend myself in case that did attract people, people thinking that certain elements of the fair were still ongoing, but the lads who were there immediately wrapped it up and everybody went home." from Billy Welch
    Billy Welch