TWO sites have been put forward as summer transit sites for travellers in Poole and councillors are rallying residents to turn out in force and support their opposition to one.
The three ward councillors who represent Creekmoor have united to oppose controversial proposals which could see a temporary stopping site with 27 pitches during the summer months on land at Marshes End.
They are leafleting residents calling on them to attend Borough of Poole’s cabinet meeting, on tonight, where a report will suggest two possible sites in the borough, narrowed down from an original 90 and a shortlist of seven.
They are on land directly next to the fire station at Creekmoor – adjacent to the green belt park and ride – and a patch of land north of the B&Q car park in Broadstone Way with space for four pitches.
“Our residents in Creekmoor are understandably concerned as they have told us that they feel it always tends to be Creekmoor which bears the brunt of the more difficult ‘installations’ in Poole,” said ward councillor Judy Butt, who last October chaired a meeting to discuss the borough’s gypsy and traveller strategy.
Last summer public open space was frequently descended upon by travellers and the council, which has spent more than £200,000 of council tax-payers money on the issue over seven years, is finding it difficult to identify a temporary transit site.
Poole Mayor, Cllr Phil Eades, who called on the council to find a suitable temporary site before next summer said: “I welcome this and I call on all members of the council and the community to get behind it.
“This solves the problem. I truly believe that once the travellers know we have complied with the legislation, they will go somewhere else.”
However Creekmoor ward councillor John Rampton raised concerns over the suitability of the Marshes End site which he said was too contaminated to put a car park on. Plus issues with access and the proximity to the dual-carriageway.
The cabinet meeting where this will be discussed takes place tonight at the Civic Centre at 7pm.
Terry Stewart of the Vision for Poole Group said: “We were all in favour of having a temporary stopping place as long as they could find a suitable one.”
However with his Council for the Protection of Rural England hat on, he said: “There is concern that they don’t tarmac over the marsh area.
“Also that wood is protected.”
Mike Randall of Parkstone Bay Association said: “If they create this and it’s full, where does the overflow go?”
He pointed out that at one point last summer there were 13 caravans at Baiter, and that different groups of travellers did not get on with each other.
Stephen Thorne, head of planning and regeneration, Borough of Poole said: “The council controls when the site is required, opened and who occupies it, minimising the disruption to local residents. The sites would only be required when the Council, as part of their normal process, cannot manage the situation on their own.”
However even if a site or sites are approved by cabinet and a planning application is submitted, this may not solve the problem.
“While police would be able to direct travellers to the site, should more turn up than there are pitches for, eviction orders for the remainder would still have to be sought through the courts.
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