Issue - meetings

Review of Unauthorised Traveller Encampments in Thanet

Meeting: 17/09/2020 - Cabinet (Item 675)

675 Update on potential sites for a temporary stopping site pdf icon PDF 98 KB


The provision of processing temporary tolerated travel sites was a legal and moral obligation that the council had to undertake. Having permanents sites in full consultation of all the local communities including the traveller community was an important consideration for the council.


Historically unauthorised encampments have used TDC land, KCC land and private land; however there has been a growing tendency over the last couple of years to use TDC land. The Travellers Review Group was set up at the Overview & Scrutiny Panel to review and report back to the Panel on understanding of and an approach to managing the impact of Traveller unauthorised encampments in the Thanet area.


The review group were asked to investigate the impact of unauthorised encampments in Thanet and make recommendations to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel on what the Council could do to mitigate the impact of the unauthorised encampments (if necessary) whilst still meeting its obligations to local residents and the Travellers. There has been significant interest from stakeholders and local residents regarding a temporary tolerated site including commentary on suitability of sites, level of need and other locations.  In order to capture this information and understand the views of all those with an interest in temporary stopping sites a robust engagement process is required.


The Local Plan has recently been adopted and is now subject to a review process. This process would include a defined consultation and the ability to place a general call to landowners to put forward sites for specific uses. Any sites put forward would be assessed for suitability after which a set of sites would be proposed to Members for public consultation.


Councillor Pugh and Councillor Bailey spoke under council procedure 20.1.


Councillor Whitehead proposed, Councillor Everitt seconded and Cabinet agreed the following:


  1. That the identification of appropriate tolerated stopping sites becomes part of the Local Plan review;


2.  That Officers continue with an officer and partner group, working with known groups of gypsies and travellers to address site access and behaviours.

Meeting: 30/07/2020 - Cabinet (Item 667)

667 Update on potential sites for a temporary stopping site pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:


The item was deferred to a future meeting.

Meeting: 16/12/2019 - Cabinet (Item 620)

620 Review of Unauthorised Traveller Encampments in Thanet pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Whitehead introduced the report noting that the Overview and Scrutiny Panel had commissioned a review group to develop an understanding of the impact of unauthorised Traveller encampments in the Thanet area.


The following Members spoke under Council Procedure 20.1: Councillors Campbell, Bailey and Rogers.


Councillor Whitehead proposed, Councillor Duckworth seconded and Cabinet agreed:


“That further work was undertaken to assess the feasibility and cost implications of three temporary tolerated sites in the District, at Potten Street, St Nicholas at Wade, Tivoli Brooks and Ramsgate Port, with a view to using them on a rotational basis.”

Meeting: 19/11/2019 - Overview & Scrutiny Panel (Item 209)

209 Review of Unauthorised Traveller Encampment in Thanet - Report back by the Traveller Review Group pdf icon PDF 231 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:


Gavin Waite, Director of Operational Services introduced the item for discussion and advised Members that officers were going to provide the technical information relating to the review leading up to the recommendations made by the review group. Mr Waite then requested Eden Geddes, the former Community Safety Manager (now with the Multi-Agency Task Force) to introduce the legal framework for addressing the issue under review.


Mr Geddes made the following comments:


  • Section 124 of the Housing Planning Act placed a duty on local councils to assess housing needs of all the residents in its area, including housing needs for the traveller community;
  • The assessment would include determining the space for the caravans to be placed;
  • The Equality Act 2010 also provided rights to all individuals including the right to equal treatment;
  • Nomadic lifestyle is lawful and recognized by legislation to be such;
  • On the other hand trespassing is unlawful and a civil crime;
  • Prior to issuing out a Section 77 eviction notice, the council had to identify welfare concerns of the affected individuals;
  • Other issues that included anti-social behaviour, impact on local settled communities and landowners were taken into consideration when issuing S77 notices for unauthorised encampments;
  • Decisions to evict had to be balanced, necessary, legal and proportionate;
  • Preventive injunctions could be used. However the council had to fulfill all requirements in order to employ that legal tool. TDC did not currently fulfil such legal requirements.


Contributing to the discussion, Penny Button, Head of Safer Neighbourhoods made the following comments:


  • There had been a marked increase in unauthorised encampments in the district and these were largely dominated by two families;
  • Historically the encampments were on KCC land but there had been some change in such activities taking place on council and private land;
  • The Panel set up the review group to study and report back on their findings and recommendations;
  • Currently council was collecting waste left behind by the unauthorized encampments as part of the regular waste collection for the area;
  • On an occasion when a specific collection was made for one of the encampments, it cost council approximately £500;
  • It was being proposed in the current draft Local Plan to set aside five pitches that could be used for establishing authorised encampments for travellers;
  • There were three distinct types of encampment sites that a council could provide. The review group concentrated on temporary tolerated sites;
  • In informing the review group recommendations, an options matrix was used which highlighted the advantages and disadvantages for each site;
  • The travellers’ representatives were invited to the group’s meetings. Unfortunately they did not attend;
  • Three sites that included Potten Street Car Park, Tivoli Brook and Ramsgate Hover Port were identified as the proposed temporary tolerated sites that could be recommended to cabinet for consideration.


Ms Lorraine Lucas and Ms Sonya Smyth spoke under the public speaking procedure rules.


The following Members spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1:


Councillor Stuart Piper;

Councillor Albon;

Councillor Yates.


Responding to the review report back Members made comments and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 209