Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 14:17 UK

Permanent traveller site 'needed'

A new permanent site for travellers in Dorset is being sought by housing chiefs to reduce the number of unauthorised camps.

North Dorset District Council said there is "demonstrable need" for a site in Shaftesbury and Gillingham and it has a "duty of care" to all residents.

There are already two authorised sites in North Dorset, one in Thornicombe and one south of Shaftesbury.

The council said it would seek government funding for the development.

A spokesman said there were currently six unauthorised encampments, accommodating 49 live-in vehicles, proving there was a need for more permanent sites in the area.

Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, portfolio holder for gypsies and travellers, said: "While some people may raise objections and have concerns to the principle of gypsy and traveller sites, the council has a duty of care to all the residents of North Dorset regardless of their status."

A report from the Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2007 and the draft Regional Spatial Strategy suggested the need for an additional 37 permanent residential and 20 transit gypsy and traveller pitches.

The council said it will seek funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to undertake the work, but it must secure land first and be working towards submitting a planning application.

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