Council committee votes to approve travellers’ site at Bank End in Bideford as a temporary measure until a new, permanent site is found.

Torridge District Councillors have approved a temporary travellers’ site in Bideford.

The council’s community and resources committee met last week to discuss creating the temporary site in Riverbank car park at Bank End.

Councillors also approved spending £10,000 to fund CCTV, a water supply, and a fence against the riverbank.

The funds will come from £600,000 allocated by the council to purchase and develop a permanent gyspy and traveller site in Torridge.

A gypsy and traveller working group was established last year to work with North Devon Council to establish sites for travellers.

In a report to the council, customer services manager Simon Toon said an initial consultation only generated 13 responses, identifying six sites in North Devon, and one in Torridge.

The council then undertook a second exercise to try and generate more responses, which also resulted in a ‘very limited response’.

Mr Toon said although the council had previously tolerated the Cattle Market in Bideford as the ‘default site’, it was no longer suitable.

This is due to the high number of complaints from residents, the impact on car parking and the impact on the future redevelopment of the site.

He said: “The working group believe that an area at the end of Riverbank car park (the area currently occupied by the builders compound) could be developed with minimal costs which would then ensure that any gypsies and travellers arriving within Bideford could be directed to use this area which would be shielded from local residents by the council offices, thus reducing the potential for compliants.”

Other sites looked at Riverbank, the rugby ground and caddsdown overspill car park, however Bank End was deemed the most suitable.

In the report, Councillor Cathrine Simmons said: “We must tackle this situation and go forward.

“Historically we are not a hot spot for large numbers of gypsies and travellers but we should recognise that we need sites both temporary and permanent sites but only a small number.

“If managed correctly it will have limited cost to the council, charges and fees can cover the maintenance costs.”