Council tax bills for traveller sites
TRAVELLERS who set up camp on proposed new sites in North Somerset will have to pay council tax if they stay longer than a few days. The news was revealed at a meeting of North Somerset Council's Executive as it approved plans to create 36 new residential
TRAVELLERS who set up camp on proposed new sites in North Somerset will have to pay council tax if they stay longer than a few days.The news was revealed at a meeting of North Somerset Council's Executive as it approved plans to create 36 new residential pitches and 10 places for transit caravans in the district.The South West Regional Assembly has said North Somerset should provide 45 residential and 17 transit pitches in the area by 2011. The sites set up for transit caravans allow people to stay for a maximum of two days, whereas the residential pitches allow them to stay for a longer period of time. How long is yet to be decided. By providing transit sites people who camp there without permission can be moved on straight away by the police. However, if travellers set up camp on private land, proceedings still have to be taken through the courts, which can take around two weeks. The council's development and environment director, David Turner, said those staying on residential pitches will be expected to pay council tax for the time they spend there. Locations for the proposed pitches have not been decided, but options include putting them next to existing sites, building them into plans for how the town grows or on the edge of existing towns and villages. Councillor Bob Cook said he was sceptical about the plans.He added: "I do believe that even though we are going to provide these pitches there will always be more people than there are pitches and the problem will still exist.