Traveller caravans moving out of East Devon

PUBLISHED: 12:13 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:13 27 November 2018

New government figures show there are less traveller caravans in East Devon this year than there were last year. Picture: PA.

New government figures show there are less traveller caravans in East Devon this year than there were last year. Picture: PA.

Archant

Traveller caravans are moving out of East Devon, according to government figures.

Newly-released data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows that, in July, there were 58 Gypsy, Roma and traveller caravans in East Devon, 29 fewer than in 2016.

In July there were five socially rented caravans, 46 with planning permission and seven unauthorised sites in East Devon.

The Journal put the figures to East Devon District Council, a spokeswoman said: “There are privately owned, small, authorised permanent sites across East Devon. These are generally occupied by extended family groups and are usually no more than five pitches in total.

“The greatest concentration is towards the west of the district, corresponding with the historic stopping places along main roads used traditionally by Gypsy families travelling for seasonal work. The permanent pitches are used year round. The transit pitches have been used almost continuously over the summer.”

On authorised sites EDDC provides the same services to travellers as are provided for the settled community.

The total number of traveller caravans in England has increased steadily over recent years. There were more than 22,600 in July, an increase of more than 5,000 over a decade.

A minority of traveller caravans, slightly more than 3,000, were on unauthorised sites.

Jim Davies, from the Traveller Movement, said the figures showed that the stereotypical view of travellers painted by the media was not reflected in reality.

He said: “Certainly, the stereotypical view of Gypsies and Travellers on village greens and children’s football pitches presented by the media is largely inaccurate. Not only do close to 80% of Gypsies and Travellers live in bricks and mortar accommodation, but of those unauthorised caravans counted at the last caravan count, more than two thirds were on Gypsy or traveller-owned land.”

Mr Davies added that it was important that “policy makers and researchers consider the whole Gypsy and traveller population, instead of the minority”.

All of the 51 authorised caravan sites in East Devon were on sites for which permanent planning permission had been granted with some sites being awarded temporary planning permission.

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