Published: 16:23, 20 November 2019
| Updated: 16:23, 20 November 2019
Plans for three temporary 'tolerated' sites for travellers in Thanet have been shelved until a consultation has taken place.
Council chiefs were looking to create three temporary 'tolerated' sites at Potten Street in St Nicholas-at-Wade, Tivoli in Margate and at Ramsgate Port, to be used on a rotational basis.
But at an overview and scrutiny meeting last night, councillors decided not to put the idea forward to the cabinet and the three suggested sites were withdrawn.
A spokesman for Thanet District Council said: "Members recommended to cabinet that further work be undertaken including extensive public consultation to assess the feasibility and cost implications of establishing temporary tolerated sites in the district."
In the past six years, the number of illegal sites has grown from just two in 2013 to 53 this year, with 70 locations deemed as 'vulnerable' to unauthorised camps.
Since 2018, the majority of incursions have been linked to two families made up of small groups which attract others, leading to encampments of more than 20 vehicles on public and private land.
Dreamland car park and Dane Park in Margate are just two areas which have been used by travellers.
New figures show the number of unauthorised encampments has grown from two in 2013 to nine in 2015, then from 13 in 2016 to 28 in 2017.
In 2018 this number jumped to 46 - rising to 55 when other groups have joined - and 53 this year to date.
Due to the rise in unauthorised encampments, the council has included the need for seven permanent sites and five transit pitches in its draft Local Plan.
Joseph Jones, director of the the Gypsy Council, says there is a desperate need and he is working on plans for a permanent site on land by Minster services.
"We have been left with no choice but to set up camps on the side of roads and unauthorised sites," he said.
"Permanent sites are needed. At the moment, we're excluded from society."
More by this authorKatie Davis
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