AN influential Gypsy Council member has pledged to back residents in their fight against a controversial stopping site for travellers in Poole.

Joseph Jones, who has lobbied government with the Gypsy Council for more than 40 years, spoke at a meeting attended by around 200 concerned Creekmoor Residents last night.

He said: “Unfortunately we’re between a rock and a hard place. It doesn’t matter what we say – everyone seems to talk for us, no one seems to want to talk with us.

“We are against this site for the simple reason it is contaminated land and on a flood zone. What we would like to see is for Poole council to provide more permanent sites.

“We don’t want to see the animosity that is being created by the media, and through the politics of this site. We are becoming political footballs and we’re just piggy in the middle.”

It is the selection of the larger of two proposed traveller sites – at Marshes End, Creekmoor – that sparked widespread public condemnation, in January, when Borough of Poole decided to back the scheme.

The proposals, which still have to go through the borough’s planning process, were put forward following a summer of heightened traveller activity across the district Borough of Poole and Dorset Police argue that by having a temporary stopping site, they will be able to move on unlawful encampments from Poole’s public places more rapidly.

However, there are concerns about the quality of the Marshes End site, in particular with regard to asbestos and methane levels.

During Saturday evening’s highly-charged meeting Creekmoor Resident Eddie Durlow spoke directly to Mr Jones.

He said: “What really angers me is that how dare they put human beings on contaminated ground with a dual carriageway.

"We have children, you have children – your community grows the same as ours does.

"We think this plan is totally unserviceable, it’s unsuitable and it’s a humiliation to both communities."

Another resident summed up the overall mood when he said: “The ward councillors don’t want this site, the Creekmoor residents don’t want this site, and the travellers don’t want this site. Can someone please tell me who actually does want it?”

Creekmoor ward councillor Judy Butt, who was sacked from her cabinet position after voting against approval for the Marshes End site, chaired the Creekmoor Community Centre meeting alongside other ward councillors, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, Mr Jones, Poole MP Robert Syms and Dorset Police Neighbourhood Inspector Claire Phillips.

The other, smaller traveller stopping site, will be situated at land north of the B&Q car park, Broadstone Way, Poole.

Borough of Poole estimates it will cost £175,000 to construct the Creekmoor site and up to £70,000 at Broadstone Way.

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