Dorset travellers' site in Shaftesbury given go ahead

A new travellers' site has been given the go ahead in Dorset.

The land, south of the A30 on the edge of Shaftesbury, is owned by North Dorset council whose councillors backed the move at a planning meeting.

The authority has also secured government funding towards the construction of the eight-pitch site.

The government has previously called on councils across the country to provide permanent and transit sites in a bid to minimise illegal encampments.

Dorset was told it needed to identify 425 pitches by the end of 2011.

'Contentious issue'

All nine councils across the county have already agreed to team up over the issue, despite labelling the target as "unrealistic".

They have been asking landowners and the public to help find suitable locations.

North Dorset council said: "The shortage of authorised sites has meant that several unauthorised encampments have been established across the district.

"The provision of this new site begins to address the shortage of authorised locations.

"Providing the traveller site has been a contentious issue and every effort has been made to adjust the site location and layout to reduce the impact on the four properties closest to the site."

The council said it was considering a plan to lease the land to Dorset County Council for it to construct and operate the site.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites