New policy to deal with illegal sites

ILLEGAL travellers' sites have been set up a total of 40 times in Suffolk in the space of a year, The Evening Star can reveal today.Newly released figures show there are around 460 gypsies and travellers living on “authorised” sites in the county although anecdotal evidence suggests there are a further 150 who regularly set up camp without landowners' permission.

ILLEGAL travellers' sites have been set up a total of 40 times in Suffolk in the space of a year, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Newly released figures show there are around 460 gypsies and travellers living on “authorised” sites in the county although anecdotal evidence suggests there are a further 150 who regularly set up camp without landowners' permission.

Figures compiled by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), detailed in a Suffolk County Council report, show that the region has a total of 4,000 caravans, around a quarter of the total for the UK.

Of these around three quarters (3,000) set up on authorised camps while the remainder often defy landowners and set up without permission.


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Suffolk County Council is determined to improve the way it deals with travellers - both authorised and unauthorised - and councillors are set to discuss a new framework for managing issues surrounding them.

The new strategy, which involves the way illegal sites are dealt with as well as issues such as education and health provision, is set to go before all district councils in Suffolk as well as the county council.

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Joanna Spicer, portfolio holder for public protection at Suffolk County Council, said that, should the strategy be adopted by all authorities, it will lead to a far more efficient way of dealing with travellers.

She said: “Up until now all seven districts have acted with their own policies.

“If this strategy is adopted it will mean the same regulations applying to travellers in Ipswich or Lowestoft.

“It is a real step forward.

“We are talking about quality of accommodation, schools, issues of personal safety, health and wellbeing.

“For the first time ever this will all be pulled together into one document.

“I hope this is a basis to build improved relationships with travellers and better responsiveness to illegal sites.”

Do you think illegal sites are dealt with quickly enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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