Traveller camp set up every nine days in Wakefield

21 traveller camps have been created in Wakefield since April.
21 traveller camps have been created in Wakefield since April.

A total of 21 traveller camps have been set up in the Wakefield district in the last six months.

Figures show that an average of one encampment every nine days has been created since April 6 this year.

A report by Wakefield Council's environment portfolio holder Maureen Cummings said that police had had no involvement in dealing with any of the camps.

Two thirds of the sites concerned were council land, with the rest on private property.

A total of 10 had resulted in legal action being taken by the council.

The report, which will go before a full council meeting next week, said: "(The) number of camps this financial year is 21.

"14 camps (were) on council land with 7 requiring some form of legal action. Seven camps (were) on private land with three requiring some form of legal action.

"No police powers have been used during this period."

The local authority is under pressure to find more space to accommodate travellers, after a 2016 study it conducted found that the gypsy community in Wakefield is expanding.

In April this year, the council's chief planning officer said that a lack of allocated sites meant that it was becoming easier for travellers to move onto an area and then obtain retrospective planning permission to stay there.

Ian Garratt also suggested that local farmers were partly to blame for the problem, as he claimed they were "selling part of their estates" to travellers and then "walking away".

In numbers

Number of traveller camps set up in Wakefield district since April 6 - 21

Number of camps set up on council land - 14

Number of camps set up on private land - 7

Number of camps dealt with by enforcement action - 10 (7 on council land, 3 on private land)