COUNCIL officers are set to go to court tomorrow to apply for an eviction order against the travellers camped at land next to Staples car park in Poole.

This encampment, of three caravans and two motor homes, has already been notified of the impending court action– and if an eviction notice is granted they’ll have just 24-hours to vacate the Fleetsbridge site.

The travellers have been on the land, close to houses at Christopher Crescent, for a fortnight.

Residents have spoken of their concerns about the travellers, with some neighbours complaining they feel intimidated by their presence.

Temporary toilets and a skip have been provided on site, in-line with new Borough of Poole regulations introduced to address environmental concerns.

Speaking in response to this site, and a number of other small traveller encampments that have sprung up in Poole in recent weeks, Cllr Xena Dion – the borough’s cabinet portfolio holder for planning – has moved to reassure residents.

She said: “We recognise that the recent unauthorised encampments in Poole are a cause of public concern.

“A great deal of work with local residents’ groups has been undertaken to manage the situation effectively and meet the needs of our local communities whilst meting government requirements to support the travellers’ way of life.”

Cllr Dion explained the council cannot simply move on unauthorised encampments to a permanent site, which could happen within 24-hours, as the borough does not have such a site within its boundaries.

“Two sites were identified last year after a considerable search but both were found to be unsuitable during the planning process.”

Indeed the public uproar by residents living close to these two proposed sites led to a number of packed meetings calling for Borough of Poole to rethink its strategy.

On the present situation, Cllr Dion said: “Working with local communities through ward councillors, considerable work has just been completed to protect six identified open spaces that residents consider particularly sensitive, such as those that have ‘Fields in Trust’ status.

“These improvements have made it harder for unauthorised vehicles to access these sites but no site is completely secure.”

Comments have been opened on this story but please note: any reference to gypsies or any racially offensive term will cause them to be closed and you may find your account suspended. Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are legally recognised as ethnic groups, and protected by the Race Relations Act. Please keep your comments to this particular incident and do not generalise. Thanks for your co-operation.