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Author: wplNxoRVAztJ

Traveller transit plan for Bearwood backed by Kushti Bok

PROPOSALS to create a transit site for travellers in Bearwood have been supported by a Dorset charity dedicated to raising awareness of the Gypsy, Traveller, Romany and Roma communities.

Kushti Bok chair Betty Smith-Billington said the plans for land off Magna Road would be a positive step given there are no existing sites across the BCP Council area.

Transit sites provide short-term stays, with basic amenities and services provided.

Earlier this year, BCP Council told the Daily Echo that the local authority did not plan to have any transit sites in the conurbation this year.

However, the planning application was recently submitted by a Mr Diment for the land next to Waggy Tails Rescue.

If approved, the scheme would include the construction of a permanent toilet and shower block and 10 pitches for use by travellers and gypsies.

Asked what the transit site would deliver, Ms Smith-Billington said: “It will provide somewhere for travellers to go when they come into the area.

“As long as they have hardstanding and facilities there on the site, they would be very pleased to have somewhere to go rather than go on anywhere they can because there are no sites in the BCP area, as the councillors all admit.”

Ms Smith-Billington has made the case for the introduction of negotiated stopping, where water, toilet and rubbish collection facilities are made available. This approach involves a signed contract with an agreed leaving date and for the site to be kept tidy.

She has also previously suggested alternative sites. This involves providing a site with the same amenities for up to 28 days in one year but does not require planning permission.

Read more: BCP’s summer traveller policy – what the council and community groups say

On the proposed transit site, Ms Smith-Billington said it would only accommodate 10 spaces, which would not be enough to provide a single long-term option.

She added that travellers do need a site in the BCP area and the proposed location is an “ideal place”.

“It is a positive step,” she said. “If it does go forward and it does happen, then it would be brilliant, especially when people realise travellers are normal human beings and they see how they live. Hopefully the council can identify more sites.”

Dorset Police has backed the transit site plans, stating it could help tackle “frustrations” over unauthorised encampments. Dozens of residents have submitted objections.