MORE than 6,000 people have signed a petition protesting against a gypsy and travellers site in East Dorset.

They’re asking Dorset County Council to reconsider a proposal for 25 pitches at Cannon Hill, in Uddens Drive – which it has already secured £1.75million funding for.

Councillors will discuss the plea by the Friends of Uddens Woodland at <&bh"">Stapehill<&eh> group at a meeting on Thursday, April 26.

Organiser Michael Gorse said: “The petition has been signed by just about 80 per cent of the residents in a two mile radius of the site, and by 99 per cent of people who use the trailway that goes right the way alongside the site.

“Everybody we spoke to said if there was a travellers’ site there they wouldn’t use it and would move out to the heathland.

“That would be very, very bad for the heathland.”

A planning consultant will speak on behalf of the group, which has come up with its own plan for the land.

“We want to lease the land ourselves and turn it into a nature reserve,” Mr Gorse said.

“We’ve realised so many people use it on a regular basis.

“If we can persuade the council not to use it we would approach the Forestry Commission to lease it to us so we can have the whole woodland as a facility for the whole area.”

Plans include opening up paths to make access for disabled users and families with prams.

“People love that piece of woodland,” Mr Gorse said. “It is not about being anti gypsy – whatever they want to develop there, we will fight.”

Visit gypsyandtravellersites and save for details.