New pitches for travellers planned in Yarmouth

A group of travellers set up on Bloomfield Road in the South Denes area of Great Yarmouth.Picture: J

A group of travellers set up on Bloomfield Road in the South Denes area of Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

As many as ten new pitches for gypsies and travellers are planned for Great Yarmouth over the next 14 years - and 25 pitches at the Gapton Hall site are to be protected.

Several caravans belonging to travellers in the car park next to the Marina Centre in Great Yarmouth

Several caravans belonging to travellers in the car park next to the Marina Centre in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Local Plan Core Strategy - which maps out the development plan for the area up to 2030 - says how 'sufficient housing provision must be made to meet the needs of the whole community', including gypsies, travellers and travelling show people.

It's not yet clear where in the borough the ten permanent sites would be, but they are expected to be revealed this summer.

The plan said: 'The limited number of good quality, permanent sites throughout the UK restricts access to many health, education and welfare services for gypsy and traveller communities.

'This not only affects their general wellbeing but means that many gypsies and travellers are not sufficiently integrated into settled communities, helping to further reinforce stereotypical views that these groups 'don't fit in'.'

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It also showed how between 2007 and 2013 the number of gypsy and traveller families visiting the borough increased, as recorded in a national biannual survey taken on specific dates.

However, it stressed the data was not conclusive and there were known issues with the count, including its snapshot nature.

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Gaynor Read from Retroskate said she would welcome new sites, as it might stop travellers parking in public car parks.

Last month six caravans and towing vehicles parked at the council-run Marina Centre car park, next to Retroskate.

Mrs Read said: 'Obviously it all depends where they would be putting them. When the travellers were in the car park near us they weren't any trouble whatsoever to the business, and they didn't leave any mess, but customers were asking about them.

'I welcome anyone who wants to travel around the country, so maybe some temporary sites would help.'

Dixie's Café on the seafront closed for four days because of the travellers, who moved to Bloomfield Road, off South Beach Parade when they were served with an eviction notice.

Following this, Caister Playing Field Management Committee took the decision to temporarily lock the car park gates over to keep travellers out.

Committee member, Ruth Bond-Holland, said: 'It's a well used site and we have the Air Training Corps cadets and bowling on site.

'They use that car park a lot, so we didn't want to shut it during the day, but it was a precautionary measure.

She added: 'I think having more dedicated sites would be a brilliant idea.'

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: 'Councils are required to make provision for gypsy and traveller accommodation through planning policy. The borough currently has 25 authorised pitches at a site at Gapton Hall, which was altered and extended in 2010, with the provision of new caravan plots, vehicle compounds and utility buildings.

'The borough council's Local Plan Core Strategy – adopted in December 2015 – makes provision for 10 additional pitches over the life of the plan period, to 2030. The need for 10 new pitches over this period was identified as part of an independent Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

'A potential site or sites for these additional pitches will be identified in the Development Policies and Site Allocations Local Plan Document, currently under development, which will be subject to multiple rounds of public consultation before adoption.

'By their nature, gypsies and travellers move around and across local authority borders. In Norfolk, planners work together to take a co-ordinated county-wide approach to providing authorised accommodation for gypsies and travellers.'

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