WORRIED Creekmoor residents believe Borough of Poole is “punishing” them by failing to immediately instigate legal action to remove travellers camped at the former park and ride site.
There are currently 19 caravans at the park and ride site, which is close to where the borough wanted to introduce a temporary stopping site for travellers earlier this year.
Civic officials and county crime commissioner Martyn Underhill had argued that by having a designated temporary stopping site within the borough’s boundaries, it would have made it easier to move on any unauthorised traveller encampment from Poole’s public open spaces this summer.
However, following a wave of protest – predominantly from Creekmoor residents and ward councillors – proposals for this temporary stopping site, and for another smaller site at Oakdale, were thrown out by Poole’s planning committee.
Some Creekmoor residents now believe the council’s failure to start legal proceedings against this latest encampment is payback for them fighting against the temporary stopping place earlier this year.
Resident Terry Hughes said: “Needless to say the majority of Creekmoor residents are extremely angry about this and feel at a loss and despised by our own council.
“We feel that it is a way of punishing the residents for fighting so hard against the earlier planned traveller site in Creekmoor.”
Neighbour Ian Stockley agreed: “It does feel like we are being punished for fighting so hard against the site earlier this year. I live close to this latest camp and I can hear the generators going and dogs barking all through the night.
“During the evening all the cars going by sound their horns. We thought it was the travellers to start with, but now we think it is locals doing it in protest at the camp. The fear is someone will do something rash – and it will probably be a law-abiding Creekmoor resident that gets hurt.”
The council’s strategy, of holding back before immediately going to the courts, has been implemented already this summer – at the encampment adjacent to Staples car park, Fleetsbridge, and initially at the Baiter car park site, before the encampment moved onto the public open ground.
On the latest park and ride situation, council environmental and consumer protection head Shaun Robson said: “We will continue to monitor these encampments to ensure there remains no significant negative impact to the local community but at present there is no evidence to support an application to the courts for an eviction order.
“This is the first unauthorised encampment inside the park and ride site for a number of years.”
THERE were also five traveller caravans and a motor home at Poole’s Sterte Esplanade, as the Daily Echo went to press.
Borough of Poole has provided a skip and toilets at Sterte Esplanade, and will be providing the same facilities for the 19 caravans at the park and ride site.
Officials say this is to prevent environmental damage and reduce any subsequent clean-up costs.
Council environment head Shaun Robson explained: “As we do not have a transit site or a temporary stopping place in Poole, any encampment by travellers in the borough is viewed as unauthorised.
“Any decision to manage the encampment or to seek an eviction order is determined by the location of the encampment and its likely impact on the local community.
“We are currently managing both sites in Poole in line with our normal policies which have been in place for a number of years.”