A councillor has put forward a proposal calling on Southend Council to find space for travellers to temporarily set up their caravans in the borough.

Southend Labour councillor Julian Ware-Lane, representing Milton, has written a motion to submit to a full council meeting on December 14.

Mr Ware-Lane is asking the council to consider finding designated spaces for travellers to temporarily remain there and to work with neighbouring local authorities and residents to find suitable open spaces. He argues that this would stop the problem of them pitching up in public parks and other unsuitable open spaces.

He said: “The reason why I put in these motions is based on compassion and tolerance for all members of our society.

“The council may or may not take this up, but at least I have put in recommendations for a long-term solution.

“I am prepared to stick my neck out.

“Everyone in our society deserves respect. Of course, I don’t defend those who break the law but it’s not fair to stigmatise everyone, and assume they’re all the same.

“There’s been little attempt from the council to find somewhere where the travellers can stay within the borough. As Southend Council puts itself as a tourist destination, we should be welcoming people, not push them away.

“If we want them to integrate into our society, we should welcome them and start dialogue.

“The council can hold its head high and proudly say we’re a welcoming and open council.”

Mr Ware-Lane added the council needs to have a longer term solution rather than spend thousands of pounds handing out eviction notices.

However, Conservative councillor David Garston, who represents Prittlewell, says the borough does not have sufficient room for travellers.

He said: “The problem is Southend is so overbuilt there’s little space available. I don’t object to councillor Ware-Lane’s attempts at finding a solution, but I don’t think our borough has the space just for travellers.

“I remember when it was the Labour government running the country Southend Council worked with Essex County Council, and Rochford and Castle Point councils to allocate space for travellers, but that didn’t work out.

“The issue with travellers is they leave a lot of mess behind after they leave. Residents get upset about this.”