'Hull City Council should be doing a lot more for travellers'
TRAVELLERS have hit back after being criticised for returning to a number of sites across East Yorkshire.
A number of permanent groups have settled on private land across the region due to designated sites being over-occupied.
An increase in transient travellers passing through Hull has also led to groups occupying land close to residential properties, which has provoked criticism from residents.
Lindsay Jones, co-ordinator at Developing Our Communities, which encourages sustainable development in local communities, said the council needs to provide more legal sites for travellers to occupy.
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She said: "Hull and East Yorkshire lack traveller sites and there are not enough provisions in place to cope with the demand.
"Prior to the sites in the East Riding being modernised, the facilities that were available to travellers were unacceptable.
"Sites are overcrowded and are far too expensive for what is provided for them."
A number of sites across the region have been recently developed but weekly rents have increased by as much as £35.50.
Ms Jones said: "The fee the council is asking for is outrageous for the service it is providing.
"Many travellers are looking to rent their own land because this offers better value for money but, again, the council is putting obstacles in their way when they should be encouraging travellers to buy land.
"Travellers don't want to pay extortionate rates to live on a slab of concrete and why should they? The rental fees can't justify that.
"The council should be doing a lot more."
Travellers have returned to a number of sites in Hull, including Priory Road and Haltemprice Road.
Rose Armitage, of Cottingham, said the council should provide alternative sites to cope with the demand.
The 61-year-old said: "The increase in travellers seem to come around in cycles and it seems to be down to travellers using the area as a stop off.
"I understand the council has provided a number of sites that travellers can use but there is obviously more needed in Hull.
"If they were provided with adequate facilities and a specific place to stay, I'm sure there wouldn't be half the worries there are now from residents."
Jane Price, Hull City Council's area director, said: "The council assesses the immediate health and welfare needs of travellers and works with local partners to meet any specific needs that arise.
"Along with partners, we do our best to balance the needs of travellers and those of residents.
"There are currently four permanent traveller sites across the city. However, we can not allow travellers to stay on land that we have not identified as appropriate and will take action where they are causing problems."
Residents close to areas where travellers have settled have aired their concerns over the amount of litter left on the sites and the loud noise in the evenings.
Ms Jones said the bad publicity travellers have received is often unwarranted and could be affecting the council's actions.
She said: "A lot of the complaints about travellers are completely false and far from the truth.
"Travellers seem to carry stigmas of being lazy, untidy and a threat to wildlife and property, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
"The authorities seem to be caught up with all of this and are looking for reasons to constantly move them on without offering an alternative."
Local authorities cannot evict travellers immediately but must first assess their welfare and comply with the Human Rights Act, while proving they own the land.