Probe launched into a new camp for travellers

Travelling gypsy off Priory Road Jarrow
Travelling gypsy off Priory Road Jarrow

An investigation has been launched after travellers set up camp on land next to the Tyne Tunnel entrance.

The group, which is believed to have arrived two days ago, have settled on a patch off grass off Priory Road, Jarrow, a few yards away from the tunnel’s northbound entrance.

We are aware of the camp.

Council spokesman

Officers from South Tyneside Council have been out to the site to speak to the camp’s members.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the camp. We have engaged with them and are investigating the situation”

The camp, which appears to be housing families with young children, consists of two small caravans and there’s cars, plus a van parked on site.

There is also a large mound of chipped wood on the grass.

Officers from South Tyneside council are unable to move the travellers on immediately.

There are a number of rules councils across the country have to adhere to.

These include showing that the gypsies and travellers are on land without consent and they must enquiries regarding the general health, welfare and children’s education

They have to ensure that the Human Rights Act 1998 has been fully complied with

They must also follow a set procedure in terms of proving ownership of the land, details of the illegal encampment, service of notices and summonses that will enable them to successfully obtain the necessary authority from the courts to order the travellers to leave the site

South Tyneside has had a permanent Gypsy and traveller site over at West Boldon for many years.

In December 2013 a retrospective application from the owner of West Pastures Caravan Site, off Newcastle Road, for 11 pitches, was granted by planning officials.

Each pitch has space for two caravans and a detached brick building to provide kitchen and bathroom facilities, utility storage and general living space.

Temporary planning permission for the site, was granted after a public inquiry in March 2008, expired in March 2011.

It was then identified as a “suitable site for gypsy/traveller development” in the council’s development plan.

There is also a site near to the fairground South Shields seafront for travelling show people to set up temporary bases.

In the UK Census of Population 2011, just nine people declared they were a Gypsy or a Traveller living within South Tyneside.

However the census stated: “The figure is likely to be an under-estimate of the total population due to some gypsies and travellers not declaring their ethnic status or not completing the census at all.”