Torridge District Councillors vote to reconsider plans for temporary travellers’ site in Bideford after packed meeting last night (Monday).

Torridge District Council has gone back to the drawing board over plans for a temporary travellers’ site.

Around 40 people packed into Bideford Town Hall last night (Monday) as the council’s community and resources committee discussed two possible options.

One was its original plan of Bank End in Riverbank car park, and the other was a plot of land at Caddsdown offered to the council for free for two years.

But in the end, councillors unanimously decided neither site was right, and will revisit the idea in six months after further investigation by council officers.

The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford.The protest against the temporary travellers' site in Bideford.

Councillors originally approved a temporary travellers’ site at Bank End car park in September, but this caused outrage among local businesses who said they weren’t consulted on the proposals.

In October dozens of people marched on Riverbank House, forcing the district council to reconsider its decision.

A second site was put forward at Caddsdown, but this sparked anger from businesses.

An objection letter on behalf of the businesses of Caddsdown urged the council to reconsider the ‘unacceptable’ option.

The cattle market site in Bideford has been the 'tolerated trespass' site for travellers for many years.The cattle market site in Bideford has been the 'tolerated trespass' site for travellers for many years.

It said: “While there are good and bad in all communities and you can never tar everyone with the same brush, there is a feeling amongst many in the general population and evidence in our own community that a traveller site brings with it an increase in noise, anti-social behaviour rubbish and crime.

“Whether this is real or perceived, we as local businesses and rate payers, feel that the risk of loss of business at Caddsdown, is unacceptably high were a site to be located here.”

Councillor James Morrish, who chaired the meeting on Monday, said councillors spent over an hour listening to members of the public and discussing the matter.

He said: “We were approached on Monday with offers of two pieces of land, one of four acres and one six acres, within Torridge, where the owners would be prepared to sell to Torridge.

“Officers need to have time to look into that. In the end the decision was unanimous and I think we made the right decision.”