THE decision to set up a temporary traveller stopping site in Taunton town centre has been defended after receiving criticism.

Somerset West and Taunton announced its town centre Tangier Car Park would be used as a stopping site for traveller, gypsy and Roma communities who are passing through Somerset after a multi-agency decision was made.

The government ordered local councils to ensure provisions were in place to ensure all members of society were able to keep safe during the pandemic.

The site will have rubbish collections and access to clean water.

But some residents responded to the news with outrage over the council's decision, taking issue with the site's location and stating it was 'unfair' the site would have daily rubbish collections.

READ MORE: Plan for traveller stopping site in Taunton revealed

But Chris Booth, SWT councillor, explained that there were very few other locations that would have been suitable.

He said: “We understand this may seem like a strange decision so here is the explanation.

“The Government is requiring local authorities to take such action to protect travellers and gypsies as part of dealing with the Covid crisis.

“SWT has limited sites that are appropriate in its possession to use. It also needs to be a site that will be used.

“This is only temporary although we will continue to search for a permanent transit site (which obviously won’t be one of our car parks) to help stop the on-gong saga on encampments in Taunton.

“This is an underused car park and the site will be maintained as much as possible while also fenced off.

“We understand a lot of residents will not be happy but please understand we are doing what we are obligated to do with limited solutions.”

NOTE: Comments have been removed from this story due to continued racism against the travelling community.