Travellers to pay council tax

TRAVELLERS pitching up home at sites in North Somerset will have to pay council tax for the period of their stay. The news was revealed at a meeting of North Somerset Council's Executive where plans to build 36 new residential pitches and 10 places for tr

TRAVELLERS pitching up home at sites in North Somerset will have to pay council tax for the period of their stay.The news was revealed at a meeting of North Somerset Council's Executive where plans to build 36 new residential pitches and 10 places for transit caravans in the district were approved.The move comes after a review by the South West Regional Assembly which said North Somerset should provide 45 residential and 17 transit pitches 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 the 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. At the meeting, Councillor Bob Cook said he was sceptical about the plans.He said: "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.


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