From This Is Dorset
A GYPSY and Traveller site to be opened for the Olympics at Piddlehinton has been approved by councillors.
Dorset County Council’s planning committee backed an application for the temporary site near the Enterprise Business Park.
The site will be open for a nine-week period over the summer and will allow police to relocate any unauthorised Travellers who come to the area during the Games.
Planning officer Chris Stokes told members: “We are not sure what the demand is going to be but – as we know with the Great Dorset Steam Fair – it’s better to provide a transit site and if there is an influx of Travellers and Gypsies to the area it’s better to provide a site so police can move them on.”
He added: “Bearing in mind this is for a one-off event and if there is a need it’s better to have a temporary site than to have unauthorised camping.
“Our recommendation is for approval.”
Piddlehinton already has an existing permanent Traveller site not far from the proposed temporary facility.
Local member Jill Haynes urged members to add conditions to the planning approval to limit the maximum number of pitches on the site and ensure there is sufficient security in place at night.
She said: “I fully understand and agree that we have to have a proper place to move Travellers to during the Olympics and really the choices are very limited with the time scale we have got now.
“However, I’m concerned there are not strict enough conditions.
“The people on the trading estate are extremely concerned about their own security.”
Councillors agreed to add the conditions proposed by Coun Haynes. Kev Voss, chairman of Puddletown Rugby Club which is based at the Enterprise Business Park, was one of those who submitted representations objecting to the scheme.
After learning of the committee’s decision he said: “I appreciate the requirement for a site but there are a lot of businesses on the site including ourselves and we have had a few issues – not necessarily with travellers but the fact it is a very remote area and not particularly well policed.
“The other aspect I’m concerned about is whether they are going to tidy it up afterwards.”
In relation to the state the site will be left in after the games, Mr Stokes said: “The land will be completely cleared at the end of the process and you would hardly know there was anything there.”