Redeveloped council depot could accommodate travellers

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LAND at a council depot could be used as a transit site for travellers as part of a bid to reduce the number of illegal encampments in West Sussex.

As part of Chichester District Council’s redevelopment of its Westhampnett Depot, it has identified half an acre of land that could be used to accommodate nine short-stay pitches.

The site has been identified as a suitable location because it is near main roads and amenities.

If the project is given the go-ahead and planning permission is granted, the traveller’s site could be introduced by March 2015.

It comes as the authorities and Sussex police are joining forces to reduce the number of unauthorised camps in the county, with villages such as Southbourne and Bosham targeted in recent years.

Following the introduction of a similar site, East Sussex has seen a significant reduction in the amount of unauthorised encampments and it is hoped that this could be replicated in West Sussex.

Councillor Heather Caird, council leader, said: ‘We are in a very difficult situation because the district alone has had 51 unauthorised encampments in the past year.

‘We need to find a suitable solution that provides an appropriate stopping site for the gypsy and traveller community and reduces disruption to our local communities.

‘Research and evidence shows that a transit site is the best solution.’