Consultation on eight potential Dorset traveller sites

Travellers in Poole
Image caption It is estimated that between 2,400 and 3,000 Gypsies and travellers live in Dorset

Eight potential sites for Gypsy and traveller camps across Dorset will be subject to a public consultation.

They include a redundant Army camp in Wyke Regis, a closed landfill site near Okeford Fitzpaine and a former guard house in Piddlehinton.

Councils have decided to hold a joint consultation the proposed sites but a date for it has not yet been set.

The county's search for traveller sites began in 2010 and several sites have been considered but rejected.

One of the proposed sites is in Piddlehinton, where a new temporary traveller site recently opened for use. The village already has one permanent site.

'No commitment'

Of the sites being proposed, five are in west Dorset, two in east Dorset and one is in north Dorset.

The consultation is being carried out on behalf of the three district councils and the county council.

They say between 2,400 and 3,000 Gypsies and travellers live in Dorset. The number varies according to the season, with more people arriving during the summer months.

There is a shortage of permanent and transit sites in the county and more are needed to meet government targets.

Councillor Robert Gould, West Dorset District Council leader, said: "This consultation does not signify any commitment to include any of the sites in the development plan."

The Borough of Poole rejected plans for two temporary sites, at Creekmoor and Oakdale, in May.

It has since increased security in areas previously used for unauthorised encampments.

A spokesman for Bournemouth Borough Council said: "The council stands by its position that within the Bournemouth boundary we do not believe, on planning grounds, that there are any suitable or acceptable sites for a permanent transit facility.

"We will continue to explore other options with neighbouring councils."

Purbeck district, Christchurch borough and Weymouth and Portland borough councils also said they had not been able to identify any new suitable sites.

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