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Travellers in Palm Bay in Cliftonville set up unauthorised encampment

Council officers have carried out welfare checks on a group of travellers who have set up camp on a green near a coastal beauty spot.

The group arrived in Palm Bay, Cliftonville, on Tuesday with the community safety team visiting the site, which is opposite the cliff top on Palm Bay Avenue, the next day.

Travellers have set up camp in Palm Bay, Cliftonville
Travellers have set up camp in Palm Bay, Cliftonville

A council spokesman says they have carried out welfare checks and, together with the police, will continue to monitor the encampment regularly.

She added: "The government has set out guidance which states that local authorities should not evict encampments during the pandemic.

"This has been extended until the end of August 2020."

Last night, cabinet members were due to discuss plans for two temporary 'tolerated' sites in Thanet to help cope with the rise in encampments, but talks failed to happen due to an incorrect document being sent out to councillors.

Two areas are being considered - a site in Potten Street in St Nicholas-at-Wade and land off Shottendane Road in Margate.

Last year three sites were put forward - Potten Street, Tivoli Brooks in Margate and Ramsgate Port - but council chiefs are removing the port and Tivoli from the list.

Proposals come in response to a rise in the number of illegal encampments, which increased from just two in 2013 to 53 in 2019, with 70 locations deemed as 'vulnerable' to unauthorised camps.

Welfare checks have been carried out by the council
Welfare checks have been carried out by the council

Recently Dane Park has been used by travellers, with complaints from the community and Ramsgate FC, which runs children's football from the park.

Dreamland has also been a stopping spot for groups of the travelling community.

The council says temporary tolerated sites allow easier management of amenities such as waste collection and toilet provision, reducing the impact on the local area.

They will also allow provision for travellers while the authority works on a longer term solution, which includes permanent sites and transit pitches, both of which have been included in the Local Plan.

During the cabinet meeting, leader Cllr Rick Everitt said the wrong document had been included with the report looking at tolerated sites.

"It was pointed out to me by a member of the public that one of the documents circulating is not the appropriate document to go with the report," he said.

"In the interest of transparency we ought to circulate the correct document so everyone can consider it and we can have a proper discussion on that basis."

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