Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Council leader responds to protests over planned travellers’ site in Bideford

PUBLISHED: 11:53 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:10 13 October 2017

The travellers site protest on Thursday and (inset) TDC leader Jane Whittaker.

The travellers site protest on Thursday and (inset) TDC leader Jane Whittaker.

Archant

Council leader says proposed temporary travellers’ site at Bank End car park is ‘best option available’

The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford this afternoon (Thursday). The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford this afternoon (Thursday).

The leader of Torridge District Council (TDC) has responded following a protest which saw dozens rally against plans for a temporary travellers’ site.

Protestors gathered outside the council’s Riverbank House offices on Thursday over a decision to make the Bank End car park a temporary travellers’ site last month.

The protest saw residents air concerns over a lack of public consultation, fears over littering and safety and the site’s location in the centre of town. At the time these were addressed by TDC’s head of paid services, Jenny Wallace, and customer support manager, Simon Toon.

Councillor Jane Whittaker was unable to answer questions put to the council by protestors due to a meeting of Torridge’s Harbour Board, but followed up with a statement on behalf of the council.

The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford this afternoon (Thursday). The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford this afternoon (Thursday).

She said the council had taken the decision after ‘very careful deliberation’ and said ‘priorities must lie’ with local residents near the former site at the old cattle market who had complained.

She also reiterated the council’s legal requirement to provide facilities for travellers where no permanent site exists.

Cllr Whittaker said: “Many complainants have referred to the Bank End site as ‘prime riverside frontage’ when in fact for some years it has been the local skate park, and is currently being used as a compound for the building works taking place at Riverbank House.

“We do have a legal requirement to provide facilities for travellers where no permanent site exists and we hope residents will accept that this temporary, I re-emphasise temporary site, is the best option currently available.

The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford this afternoon (Thursday). The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford this afternoon (Thursday).

“If we do not provide a temporary tolerated trespass site then the few travellers that come to the area would still do so, and park up wherever they wished, which would be much worse.”

READ MORE: Protesters march on council office to oppose plans for temporary travellers’ site.

Cllr Whittaker said she expected the need for the temporary site to diminish as the travelling season nears its end, and are considering using the site for boat storage in the winter months.

Attending Thursday’s protest was Bideford mayor Dermot McGeough, and deputy mayor Doug Bushby, who are both against the plans.

Mr McGeough, who is also a district councillor for Bideford North but attended in his role as mayor, said he would be handing a petition against the site, so far signed by around 200 people, in at the next TDC full council meeting.

He added: “I feel very passionately about this and I don’t agree with the site being in this car park.

“If it’s going to be in Bideford I feel it should be at Caddsdown.”

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 19:03

‘The surf was well over head height’ - RNLI Jack Hutchens reacts quickly to save a body boarder at Croyde beach

Read more
Yesterday, 18:22

Always wanted to try Butterbeer? A special Harry Potter-inspired freakshake is launching at Tooters Diner in Barnstaple tomorrow, and we went to have a sneak preview...

Read more
Yesterday, 17:59

Friday afternoon crash in East Street

Read more
Yesterday, 16:19

With Storm Brian set to batter North Devon, would-be wave watchers are advised to stay well away from the water and big waves

Read more
Yesterday, 14:36

North Devon prepares for gusts of 60-70mph and swells of 16-26ft as Storm Brian gets ready to unleash his wrath on the region tomorrow (Saturday).

Read more
Yesterday, 14:02

North Devon Foodfest is returning to Barnstaple Pannier Market this Sunday and promises a feast for all the senses with local produce and chef demos.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:55

North Devon Crematorium has secured £5,000 for North Devon Cancer Care Centre Trust through a national recycling scheme carried out with the consent of the bereaved.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:28

A Barnstaple man charged with causing death by careless driving appeared in court today - but the case was adjourned by magistrates.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:17

Justeen Easton has been nominated for a Pride of Britain Award, after setting up a charity for grieving families in memory of her daughter Ellie.

Read more
Thu, 19:10

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of The Green Party, has been helping the candidates canvass for forthcoming Braunton district and parish council by elections

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications