TK Associates has won a contract for a consultation programme to help a coalition of local bodies to identify suitable Gypsy & Traveller sites.

The project involves consulting residents, businesses, politicians, stakeholders, Travellers and support groups on options for new transit Traveller sites in Sussex. We will be identifying views about the sites and about the wider, contentious issue of the coexistence of Travellers and mainstream communities.

Our project’s objective is also to increase understanding amongst the public and local politicians of the history and lifestyles of Travellers and the problems they face.

We are running the exercise on behalf of East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council and Sussex Police. From a long-list of potential locations for a Traveller site, a short-list of three has been drawn up for detailed evaluation.

We will be holding 12 consultation workshops, several site visits, numerous one-on-one discussions and a public Open Day. We will be collating views by questionnaire, monitoring incoming correspondence and producing detailed information online as well as in the form of leaflets distributed to affected homes and businesses. We will be handling media relations around the exercise.

Overall, we expect to consult over 500 people in person with hundreds of additional views expected in writing.

Given the emotive nature of the subject, we are also preparing for a considerable level of crisis communications work.

We will report our findings to the council cabinets early next spring.