Somerset 'needs more travellers' sites'

A Somerset council leader has said a lack of travellers' transit sites in the county will lead to an increase in problems in the future.

A report commissioned by the local authority said 100 pitches needed to be found by 2015, but there are currently no official sites active.

The sole official site, in Middlezoy, closed in 2011 following vandalism.

Ric Pallister, of South Somerset District Council, said the lack of provision must be addressed.

"It means that travellers will pull into private land, cark parks and school playing fields because there is no alternative," he said.

Travellers who illegally parked at Hamilton Park in Taunton in May, left litter and mess when they departed the site.

District councils are responsible for providing Gypsy and traveller sites.

A transit site is a temporary base for travellers with basic facilities, while a permanent site is for longer stays and requires those who live there to have a licence.

Mr Pallister said the reason for the lack of sites in the county was down to "political will" and the fact the subject was not a "vote winner".

He said: "Sometimes you've got to be big and bold enough to stand up and do what's right, and not necessarily what's popular."

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