Creekmoor residents reacted with fury following Borough of Poole’s ruling to back plans for two temporary stopping sites for gypsies and travellers.
Many of them live in close proximity to where the main 27-pitch Marshes End site will be located, and are worried about possible increases in anti-social behaviour and tensions in the area.
The council voted in favour of a motion to prepare and submit planning applications for the Marshes End site, and a smaller four-pitch temporary stopping site on land off Broadstone Way.
Residents of Creekmoor’s Hazelbury Close said they felt let down by the decision and that their voices had not been heard on the issue.
Carol Snelling, aged 66, who attended Monday evening’s tense Civic Centre meeting, said: “It’s disgusting. I feel that it was all signed and stamped before we knew anything about it.
“If it does go ahead, the land is full of asbestos and they wouldn’t allow anyone to build on it. Also, how long are they going to stay there for?”
Meanwhile, neighbours Jim, aged 77, and 68-year-old Win Harris, who have lived in the area for the past six years, told the Daily Echo of their “disappointment” the site would be going ahead.
Win added: “The council are cutting the bus services, yet they can afford to do this and we weren’t consulted like they said. With the contamination, should they be putting anything on that land, travellers or not?”
Thirty-year Hazelbury Road resident Syd Tongs echoed sentiments that locals had not been fully consulted on the issue.
The 66-year-old said: “The first we knew about this was last week when Cllr Judy Butt’s meeting held in Creekmoor. It seems that the councillors didn’t have a clue, I think they just voted for it because it is not going to be in their ward.”
Neighbour Christopher Gregory, 60, said it seemed as though some councillors had made up their minds before putting it to residents.
He said: “I got a leaflet through last week to say that there was an ‘urgent meeting tonight’, which I couldn’t attend. In the past, however, my experiences with travellers have always been bad.”
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Applications being prepared for temporary stopping sites
Following Poole Council’s contentious decision to forge ahead with two temporary stopping places for travellers, planning applications are now being prepared.
Borough of Poole intends to submit applications as soon as possible for a site at Marshes End, Creekmoor for 27 pitches and on land in Broadstone Way north of the B&Q car park, for four pitches.
March is likely to be the first chance to go before the planning committee and if approved, the council would aim to get the sites ready for Easter, which is towards the end of April.
Poole Mayor, Cllr Phil Eades, who chaired the highly charged council meeting said: “We are elected to make what are sometimes very difficult decisions on behalf of the whole borough.
“This site isn’t perfect, it’s a lot better than having travellers in places where there were recreation grounds, all summer,” he said.
He added: “A lot of the concerns residents raised are planning considerations. The only decision last night (Monday) was to make a planning application. They will get the chance to oppose them, to make their representations to the council on these planning applications.”
These sites would be used for a temporary period between Easter and September 1. They would provide basic facilities and the police would be able to use their powers to move unauthorised encampments to them.
Travellers' sites will “undoubtedly” affect house prices, claims estate agent
Building a travellers’ site at either Marshes End or Broadstone Way will “undoubtedly” affect house prices, an estate agent has claimed.
Paul Buxton, owner of Adams and Rose estate agents, warned residents properties would command lower prices and take longer to sell.
He said: “People will still buy but it will reflect on the prices and how long it takes to sell.
“Once the site’s been there and it’s possibly proven over a couple of years that there are no issues that might change but initially yes, prices will drop.”
He likened the situation to plans to build a detention centre in Branksome several years ago, which were hugely controversial with residents. And he said he had also lost a buyer when there was a previous suggestion of siting travellers near Gordon Road in Branksome.
“You’ve only got to ask yourself the question – if you’re going to buy somewhere and all of a sudden it’s announced there’s going to be a travellers’ site 100 yards away from you, what would you do?”
But Martin Thomas, of Palmer Snell in Broadstone, felt it was too early to tell whether the traveller sites would have an effect on house prices.
“It depends on so many things, including how big it is and how often it is used and at the moment nobody can say whether it will affect property prices. Certainly we haven’t picked up on any negativity so far, we haven’t had anybody wanting to be taken off the list for Creekmoor properties.
“It’s not in the middle of Creekmoor but on the outskirts, with no housing in the immediate vicinity.
“And it is only a transit site as we understand it, which might only be used two months of the year.
“I don’t think we can say yet what will happen.”
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