15 permanent traveller pitches must be found in North Devon and Torridge up to 2031

A spokesman for the Gypsy Council has encouraged councillors in North Devon and Torridge to engage with the traveller community when designating sites across the districts.

According to a draft Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment Report for authorities in Devon, the two councils must allocate a total of 15 permanent pitches - six in North Devon and nine in Torridge - for travellers.

A transit site will also be needed in each district as part of the emerging joint Local Plan.

North Devon councillor Jeremy Yabsley is heading up a task team to find the required sites, which he hopes will be lower than 15 based on new evidence, and ensure they are adopted before the Local Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State next spring.

He said he couldn't confirm which sites were currently under consideration, but the authorities were initially looking at land which they already own.

"We are aware of some sites that are in use unofficially and it's a process of looking at these to decide whether to regularise them or look at other sites," he said.

"We've also looked at a couple of sites which were deemed unsuitable.

"It is a joint need between the two authorities and we have to show we are making a serious effort to get this done for the Local Plan."

Joseph G Jones, the Gypsy Council's lead on planning, said: "I hope the council goes about its consultation with the local traveller community.

"Too many local authorities engage in processes with a call for sites but don't find the right sites or go about it in a way that there will be any successful outcome."