Torridge District Council is still no further ahead with finding a temporary site for travellers – despite spending thousands of pounds on finding an answer.
Torridge and North Devon district councils have spent just shy of £30,000 between them on a Traveller Site Assessment with DLP Planning.
But the DLP report has failed to identify any appropriate sites within the Torridge area.
A report to TDC’s community and resources committee, which is due to meet next Tuesday, also revealed the council spent £7,000 on infrastructure at a temporary site in Bideford – before the decision to use it was overturned.
Councillors originally voted to allocated £10,000 from the £600,000 budget to use Bank End as a temporary traveller site.
Now with £593,000 left in its allocated budget, TDC is once again back to the drawing board to find a suitable transit site.
Despite recruiting four more councillors onto its Gypsy and Traveller Working Group (GTWG) and discussing further potential sites which have come forward, it is still no closer to a decision.
The GTWG discussed the options of three potential transit spots: Loxdown Woods at Weare Giffard, Seabreeze at Appledore and one in East-the-Water.
The report to the council committee by Simon Toon, customer service manager at TDC, said all three sites ‘do not offer an appropriate opportunity’.
He also said the cattle market in Bideford would not be an appropriate site due to the council’s decision to demolish the buildings there.
This followed a vote at the full council meeting in June to demolish the buildings on health and safety grounds.
Mr Toon said in his report: “Historically, when travelling through Torridge the gypsy and traveller community have predominantly used the cattle market site and are likely to continue to do so irrespective of any decision reached in the absence of a permanent site.”
Councillor Cathrine Simmons, lead member for housing, said it was a ‘difficult problem to solve’ and it was ‘imperative’ proper consultation was carried out.
She added: “We need to reassure the settled community that the site will be well managed.”