Call for potential temporary travellers’ sites in Essex

Travellers in Jaywick.

Travellers in Jaywick. - Credit: Archant

Land is wanted to build a temporary travellers’ site for Essex.

County Hall hopes to create a Gypsy and Traveller transit site to help reduce the number of unauthorised encampments in Essex.

Over the past two years the authority has seen a 57% increase in unauthorised pitches, which can cost the council more than £1,000 each to manage.

In north Essex travellers have recently caused issues around Jaywick.

The transit site would allow a short-term place for travellers to stay, and would be subject to rent and utility charges managed by Essex County Council.


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Police would also have strong powers to immediately move unauthorised camps to the transit site.

Roger Hirst, county councillor for transport, planning and environment, said: “A transit site should help to reduce the problem caused to communities and authorities by unauthorised encampments.

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“It makes it easier for authorities to manage the encampments. They are also safer for the traveller and Gypsy community and make it easier to address any welfare requirements they may have.”

The council is looking for land with good access to major road networks.

Last year the Essex Planning Officers Association recommended two geographically-dispersed transit sites should be built in Essex in a needs assessment.

There are currently no transit sites in the county, and the plans are being supported by Essex Police.

Nick Alston, police and crime commissioner for Essex, said: “I warmly welcome the fact Essex County Council is looking to build a transit site for gypsies and travellers.

“There is a chronic under-provision of traveller sites across Essex. As a result we have persistently seen travellers setting up unauthorised encampments around the county, often to the frustration and distress of local residents and sometimes at the expense of local taxpayers if damage or mess is caused.

“A transit site would not only provide a managed and appropriate area for travellers passing through.”

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