Efforts to find new travellers' sites in Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean District Council has said it is making progress in finding enough traveller sites to meet targets.

The move comes after campaigners in Newent called on the council to move an illegal encampment in Southend Lane.

The Romany Gypsies have permission to stay until the end of January but say there is nowhere else to move to.

In 2007 a target of finding 30 pitches was set for the council and so far 14 have been found. In 2010 the target fell to 26 due to permissions granted.

'Final date'

The group of Romany Gypsies bought and moved on to the land at Southend Lane in 2009 without planning permission.

After a planning inquiry the family were given two years leave to stay on the site.

Joanna Greening, from Residents Against Inappropriate Development (RAID), said: "When the planning inquiry decision came through we had a final date to aim towards and that's what we had in our minds all along, that the situation would be resolved at that date."

The council has said if the Gypsies remain on the site beyond the deadline, they would take steps to enforce the ruling.

Joseph Jones from the Romany Gypsy Council said: "It's a matter of a community trying to provide a place to live for themselves when the local authority isn't providing for them, whereas the local authority would have found the five-year supply for building for the settled community."

Deputy leader, Brian Robinson said: "Some progress has been made, a number of pitches are available and we are working to make sure we provide all the sites we are required to find."

The district council has until 2012 to achieve this target.

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