PLANS to tackle the problem of the travelling community setting up camp at ‘sensitive’ Inverclyde sites are to be considered by councillors.
Officials are proposing that a working group of Inverclyde Council staff and police be formed to review how unauthorised camps are handled and to see how best to secure unsuitable public sites.
The number and size of Gypsy and traveller camps have been growing in Inverclyde and this year council staff report a particularly noticeable increase.
One encampment at Kelburn Park, Port Glasgow this summer has had as many as 21 caravans. Historic Newark Castle, nearby, has also been used.
A report to Inverclyde’s Safe, Sustainable Communities committee states: “While the camps are there other members of the public are being restricted in the use of the area as a result. These sensitive areas are not suitable for camps due to conflicting use.”
It continues: “The Gypsy and traveller community do generally take care of the camp sites; unfortunately some groups abuse the sites and cause damage.”
The committee are being asked to agree to a review of council guidelines on how to deal with problems arising at sensitive locations.
Measures to secure sensitive sites to prevent unauthorised camps would also be brought forward as would recommendations of suitable sites for temporary use by the Gypsy and traveller community.
Attempts would be made to consult with representatives of the Gypsy and traveller community during the process.
The establishment of suitable transit sites would be further explored with neighbouring councils.
Other sites where unauthorised encampments have taken place this year include behind retail units at Customhouse Way, Greenock, the former Gantock Hotel site on Cloch Road, Gourock, Faulds Park, Gourock, and Parklea Playing Fields, Port Glasgow.