CIVIC officials have said their hands are tied when it comes to dealing with unauthorised traveller encampments in Poole.

The statement was made during the council’s place overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday night.

Councillors were meeting to discuss plans to tackle the growing issue of unauthorised encampments across the borough.

The committee recommended a number of security measures put forward by the council’s gypsy and travellers working party.

These included a height restrictive barrier at the entrance to the Kingland Road Car Park, the installation of day and night CCTV cameras at Sandbanks beach car park and “hardening measures” at Copse Close at Poole Park.

But the recommendation asking the council to look into temporary stopping places for gypsies and travellers was turned down.

According to the report these ‘temporary transit facilities’ would be sought in certain lower profile sites across the borough on a rotation basis and no individual site would be used more than once per year.

It would allow police to compel an encampment to relocate or leave the borough.

But during the meeting Cllr Xena Dion argued there was no point in wasting council resources on something which had already failed three years ago.

Cllr Dion was referring to proposals for a temporary stopping site at Creekmoor and Oakdale which were eventually thrown out by Poole’s planning committee following months of protests by angry residents.

“We know how this will end. No one will accept a travellers site on their doorstep which is what happened in 2014.

“I just don’t know why we would go through that again at great expense to the council. There is no where in Poole that would be accepted.”

Officers were asked to look into an injunction banning unauthorised encampments across the borough, which has been successful in Harlow. But Peter Haikin, head of regulatory services, said the Harlow injunction was successful because they had the names of people they wanted to ban.

Meanwhile Cllr Sean Gabriel said the council and the police need more powers to act.

He added: “We need to lobby our MPs and government ministers to try and get the law changed when it comes to unauthorised encampments so we are not just hamstrung by the law.” But Cllr Mike Brooke said a lobbying attempt he was part of a few years ago had “fallen on deaf ears” but the council needed to continue its efforts.

Call for travellers to pay parking charges

A FORMER Poole mayor has said travellers should be made to pay car parking charges.

Cllr Ann Stribley was speaking during a discussion about traveller and gypsy encampments in the town on Wednesday night.

She said it was unfair on both the residents who pay for car parking and the council that travellers were excluded from the charges.

“When an encampment set up at Sandbanks car park last year they took up about half of it,” she added.

“That’s £15 a day income for this authority which we were missing out on.

“The public just can’t understand why travellers can park for free when they have to pay and I don’t think gypsies and their vehicles should be excluded from parking charges.”

Her opinion was echoed by Cllr Marion Le Poidevin who said that by charging travellers for parking it would help with the “equality perception”.

But Cllr Xena Dion told her colleagues that once travellers pay to park they are no longer an “unauthorised encampment” and are within their rights to stay in the car park for as long as they pay.

Third encampment arrives in Poole

A THIRD traveller encampment has set up in Poole.

Four campervans and one caravan moved onto Kingland Road Car Park yesterday afternoon.

There are also other encampments at Baiter Park and Poole Park. At Baiter there are four caravans. Eviction notices were served by the council yesterday and bailiffs have been put on standby for Monday. At Poole Park, eight caravans have parked near to the War Memorial and tennis courts. Formal notice requiring them to leave the site has been served and court time is booked for Monday.

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