LARGE concrete boulders are being installed at car park entrances at a Taunton leisure centre to prevent travellers camping on the site.

The temporary measure during the lockdown closure of Blackbrook Leisure Centre will be followed by permanent installations to halt further unauthorised encampments.

The owner, Somerset West and Taunton Council, hopes the initiative will ease local community concerns and reduce the cost of frequent eviction and clean-up operations.

SWT leader Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts said: "We understand the concern that these traveller encampments create and are keen to provide assurance to the local community.

"I am pleased that the council has been able to respond positively to this ongoing issue.

"This does not detract from our obligations to the travelling community and we continue to take our responsibility to them seriously."

SWT has an agreed procedure for dealing with unauthorised encampments which can involve a lengthy legal process.

It also has obligations in respect of health and housing, working with travellers and unauthorised encampments to ensure welfare needs are met and any necessary agency or service requirements are signposted appropriately.