CONCERNED residents fear the ruling against two temporary traveller sites in Poole could open the floodgates for incursions across the borough’s parks and open spaces this summer.
Many people living near the areas that witnessed large, unauthorised encampments last year say Borough of Poole’s planning committee was wrong to refuse permission for the two temporary stopping places at Creekmoor and Oakdale.
Now they’re worried about a repeat of last summer, which is generally regarded as one of the worst for traveller incursions in the town.
Camps were established at Canford Heath’s Verity Park, Turlin Moor, Broadstone Recreation Ground, Whitecliff Recreation Park and Branksome Recreation Ground.
Speaking to the Echo from his home overlooking Verity Park, Canford Heath resident Brian Harwood-Butler said: “The planning committee has been hoodwinked by rent-a-mob into not giving permission.
“I’m very disappointed with the way the planning committee has voted.”
Another Canford Heath resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Everyone who voted against the temporary sites at Oakdale and Creekmoor should keep quiet this summer when travellers move onto Whitecliff or Poole Park.”
Annemarie Scott, who regularly walks her dog on Verity Park, said the area became a virtual no-go area for part of last summer. “They (travellers) caused a lot of damage here last year,” she said.
“The council does need to get a permanent site sorted as these travellers cause a lot of hassle for residents around here. I’m not looking forward to this summer. I actually avoided this area last year because I felt so intimidated by them.”
At Whitecliff Recreation Ground, where the children’s play area was shut down by Borough of Poole on health ground following an unauthorised encampment, parents of young children said they were primed for another summer of difficulties.
Phil Lanning, who regularly visits Poole, said: “In the summer I bring the kids down here twice a day, but last summer we couldn’t use this area because of the travellers.
“We were here on the day when they literally drove onto the field and parked up near the play area. We were playing football with the kids, the police turned up and that was it – we couldn’t come back here for the rest of the time we were in Poole.
“Something needs to be done about the issue; there must be a site somewhere locally where they can be moved onto. This isn’t fair for anyone.”