THREE Dorset councils will begin consulting on proposed gypsy and traveller sites today.

As part of a Dorset-wide consultation on sites for gypsies and travellers, North Dorset, East Dorset and West Dorset councils are holding their own consultation on an extra eight potential sites in their areas.

They include the redundant army camp at Chickerell, the former guard house at Piddlehinton Industrial Estate, Old Chapel Yard at Marshwood, By the Ford at Moorway Lane in Sandford Orcas and the former highway land north of B road at West Stafford.

The land at Conygar Coppice at Okeford Fitzpaine as well as land at Crumpets Drive, Corfe Mullen and land at Wigbeth Farm, Horton are also included.

The Dorset-wide document, once adopted, will allocate permanent and transit sites to meet Dorset’s needs until 2028. Having such sites help the police use special power to move on travellers who camp illegally on private or public land.

Last year, leader of Dorset County Council Spencer Flower said it would take years to sort Dorset’s gypsy and traveller problem.

He said constraints included a reticence from residents to have sites near them.

“Any accusation of being toothless is unfounded. The trouble is, as soon as you put in your teeth and start doing something constructive, no one wants it. At some point, if you want to deal with the problem, you have to step up, but people don’t want permanent sites near them.

“We’re anxious to sort this out. If we have got some temporary provision, we are in a better place when it comes to dealing with inappropriate encampments”, he told the Daily Echo.

All Dorset councils have been working with the consultants Peter Brett Associates, formerly Baker Associates, to identify potential sites.

Following a consultation from November 2011 to February 2012, a number of sites were put forward by land owners as potentially suitable locations.

No decision has been made on the options contained within the document, a spokesperson for the councils said.

The consultation will run for six weeks, until October 24.

Events and exhibitions will take place over the next few weeks at various locations.

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