WORK to create a temporary summer stopping site for travellers in Dorset will be finished next week, says County Hall.

However, the development of the 25-pitch site at Piddlehinton will do nothing to alleviate problems with unauthorised encampments in Bournemouth and Poole.

Current legislation dictates only travellers moving onto land within Dorset County Council’s boundaries can be moved onto the Piddlehinton site.

County council environment member Cllr Peter Finney said: “It is a real step forward that we’re able to open this site and provide somewhere for gypsies and travellers to make temporary stops.

“We are the first authority in wider Dorset to provide a site like this.”

After several attempts at trying to find a potential site, Bournemouth’s council leader John Beesley concluded the town had no suitable land.

Instead, the council intends to step up security at its parks and open spaces to deter travellers from settling anywhere in the borough.

And in Poole, proposals for two temporary traveller stopping sites were rejected by the council’s planning committee earlier this year, following a storm of protest from residents living near the two planned sites.

Last month travellers moved onto Hatchard’s Field, Rossmore, and Baiter Park.

After a lengthy legal process to remove them, some of the travellers simply moved onto Hamworthy Park, meaning Borough of Poole had to go back to the courts. Other recent encampments in Poole include Turlin Moor Recreation Ground and the town’s swimming pool car park.

The council has since carried out to help protect six of Poole’s most vulnerable sites, including Whitecliff, Baiter, Verity Crescent, Broadstone Recreation Ground, Branksome Recreation Ground and Haskell’s Rec.

The Piddlehinton site, which will include 24-hour security, CCTV, toilet facilities and fresh water, will be open between March and August for the next three years.

Cllr Finney said: “This is an emotive issue on both sides but, as we saw during the Olympics, having a designated site allows us to manage any issues which arise more quickly and efficiently.”

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.