A CENSUS of Gypsies and Travellers living in Doncaster is to be carried out as part of a wide-ranging raft of council measures to improve their integration into the town's life.

The census is just one of 20 key projects identified in a Gypsy and Traveller action plan to be considered by councillors on Monday.

The plan also includes steps to create a Gypsy and Traveller forum to influence policy making, a town centre community centre giving training and legal advice, and provision of children's play areas on caravan sites.

Council officer Steve Plater, who wrote the report, explained in its introduction: "It is widely recognised that Doncaster probably has the largest Gypsy and Traveller population in the country, estimated at between 4,000 and 6,000 people.

"This equates to two per cent of Doncaster's population and by far Doncaster's largest minority ethnic group."

Other measures in the report include improving public transport links to Traveller and Gypsy sites and an awareness campaign for taxi firms which are unwilling to enter Traveller sites.

Cab firms will be given a presentation of relevant race relations laws and, if necessary, the council will mediate between the firm and the community.

Arthur Heaven, of the independent Doncaster Racial Equality Council, said: "This seems to be the right way forward.

"I know that there is now considerable help available for Travellers, with a specialist council officer appointed, and obviously I would support anything that is going to assist any disadvantaged community."

Mr Heaven added that he hoped other vulnerable communities, including immigrants and asylum seekers, would be consulted in similar initiatives.

The report, to be considered by the council's safer and stronger communities overview and scrutiny panel on Monday, is the result of a consultation exercise started in 2004.