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Give travellers Creekmoor Park and Ride, says Poole mayor
11:25am Tuesday 27th August 2013 in News
A councillor says Poole council has “fundamentally failed” in its obligation to provide a site from travellers that would avoid illegal encampments - and wants Creekmoor's park and ride opened to them next year instead.
Councillor Philip Eades says opening the car park to travellers would make sure that "what has happened this summer does not happen again".
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Cllr Eades said: “The Council has a duty under the Housing Act 2004 to provide accommodation for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople.
“The ruling group on Poole Council have fundamentally failed in their obligation to provide a transit site for such travellers and indeed the entire process has stalled since early 2012.
“The flaw in the failure to provide such a site is that it leaves the police with no action to take to evict travellers from public or private property.
“I had a long conversation on Friday night with an inspector in Poole Police who confirmed that legislation is in place so that, if the council provides a transit site, travellers can be evicted within 24 hours or have their cars and caravans impounded if they fail to comply with the police eviction notice.
“The inspector confirmed to me that this is what he would like Poole Council to do as the police are as frustrated as local residents by being forced into inaction by the behaviours of groups of travellers who know the law in this field very well."
llr Eades says the council should open up the Park and Ride site at Creekmoor next July and August as a temporary transit site and use the savings made in not having to deal with illegal encampments to hire security staff.
He said: “This would also ensure that local residents in Creekmoor would feel secure and that no increase in crime and disorder would take place in their local area.
“The travellers know full well which local authorities have not complied with the legislation around providing a transit site.
“This is why, in my opinion, the Borough has had its worse year for many years this summer for encampments. Word will soon get around the travelling community that Poole has a transit site in place and that no longer will they be able to camp on Poole’s public open spaces.”
Cllr John Rampton, of Creekmoor ward, told the Echo the park and ride site had already been discounted because it's on greenbelt land and "forms an important part of Poole's future transport plans."
Cllr Rampton added that the suggestion "flies in the face of the council's strategy" and criticised Cllr Eades for "using his position as mayor to make future council policy."
"This is not appropriate," he said.
For full reaction to this story, see tomorrow's Daily Echo.
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