Residents are being asked to suggest possible sites for gypsies and travellers in Peterborough.
There are currently 11 sites in Peterborough for gypsies and travellers to stay, but a need for 53 pitches until 2031 has already been identified.
The difficulties in securing arrangements for travellers is a long-standing one in Peterborough, and in June the Bretton Water Park was shut for a week after a number of caravans moved onto land in Pyhill, Bretton.
And after evading attempts from bailiffs to evict them from the site, the travellers moved to the Pastures in Werrington, off of David’s Lane, having left behind excrement.
Efforts to evict travellers from other sites in Peterborough continued during the summer, and the police response drew an criticism from Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson who was unhappy with the city’s then area commander, Superintendent Tony Ixer.
It was also revealed in August that three Emergency Stopping Places (ESPs) for travellers had been used just three times despite there being more than 50 unauthorised encampments in Peterborough.
A cross-party working group at Peterborough City Council, headed by Councillor John Fox, had spent more than two years searching for ESPs.
The request for new gypsy and traveller sites is made in the council’s draft assessment for a new Local Plan which will set out how the city and surrounding villages will grow and change over the next 20 years.
The document states that the Cambridge sub-Regional Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment is expected to be published in early 2016 and will identify the need for pitches until 2036.
The draft Local Plan states: “In Peterborough there are currently two council owned sites and nine private sites.
“The council owned sites are located at Oxney Road and Paston Ridings on the eastern side of the city and are large in size.
“The private sites are located in the urban and rural areas to the north and east of the city and the number of pitches on each site varies.”
The document adds: “From the experience of the council in managing its sites, and from views expressed by residents of sites within Peterborough, it is clear that future provision should aim to deliver smaller sites which have a maximum capacity of 15 pitches, and in many cases, considerably fewer.”
The draft Local Plan will go to public consultation early next year after being approved by the Peterborough City Council cabinet yesterday (Monday, December 7).