CONCERNED residents are stepping up their campaign to protect Bournemouth’s green belt land from three proposed traveller sites.

A new petition has been signed by scores of Throop, Muscliff and Holdenhurst residents calling for the three Bournemouth green belt sites to be immediately deleted from a list of potential options for traveller sites across Dorset.

Consultants Bakers Associates have carried out widespread consultation on a range of possible options, including green belt land near Erlin Farm on Muscliffe Lane, green belt land at Careys Road off Broadway Lane and green belt land on the edge of urban development at Throop Road, between Woodbury Avenue and the allotments.

But campaigners say this consultation was based on figures imposed by central Government over five years ago in the scrapped South West Regional Spatial Strategy and so is now out of date.

They also claim that recent guidance from the Government, which states that local councils can determine their own levels of need, should enable the council to remove all three contentious sites immediately.

Wendy Sharp, of the local area forum, said they felt their case was strengthened by the Government’s new planning policy for traveller sites which states that ‘traveller sites (temporary or permanent) are inappropriate development’.

“The Forum is calling for the immediate scrapping of the three green belt sites and a full consultation,” she said.

Independent Cllr Ron Whittaker, who represents Throop and Muscliff, said: “We cannot allow these three green belt sites to remain when Bakers failed to undertake a proper and vigorous search.

“Erlin Farm is not in council ownership and the farm is worked, not, as indicated, ‘undeveloped’.”

Bournemouth council leader Cllr John Beesley said: “I fully understand the frustrations of Throop, Muscliff and Holdenhurst residents and would like to assure them that no decision has been made and that these sites are not endorsed by us as Council.

“We are awaiting the revised list of sites suggested by Bakers Associates following the extensive public consultation conducted with local residents on the proposed sites.”

He said a report from Bakers would be made available later in the year and councillors would then decide whether they support the proposals.