From the Bournemouth Echo
RUBBISH left by Travellers at Canford Heath – including toilet paper, litter and an old mattress – has taken two days to clean up, and the council is braced for more mess at another site.
The group that left the trail of mess when they were evicted from land at Sherborn Crescent on Friday is now camped at Broadstone Recreation ground.
Ward councillor Mike Brooke has warned that they expect the same problems there – and clean-up operations could “cost thousands.”
He told the Echo residents had already complained about litter blowing around the rec.
“It’s a tremendous cost to council resources. We’re going to be looking at thousands of pounds potentially.”
He added: “It’s the law-abiding citizens paying council tax that are actually being penalised.”
Broadstone residents are fuming at the presence of the Travellers, which they say has stopped them using the rec for sports and dog walking.
“We cannot send our kids over to play until they have gone,” one told the Echo.
Another said: “They are depriving the local community of using these grounds for their intended purposes.”
The council started the legal process to secure an eviction notice at midday on Saturday – within hours of the arrival of the 17 caravans on the site. It is due to come before a judge today and, if it is granted, the Travellers should be gone by Thursday morning at the latest.
Jeff Morley, the council’s regulatory services team manager, said because the same group were known to have left rubbish at Canford Heath the council could take action straight away.
If a site is left tidy – as at Whitecliff where a small group of Romany Gypsies were camped until the weekend – eviction cannot be pursued immediately.
The clean-up operation at Canford Heath began on Saturday and continued yesterday.
The council is also bringing in a tractor to reinstate a boulder moved by the travellers to gain access.
Mr Morley said the council incurred no “direct costs” as the clean-up team were existing staff being redeployed.
But he added: “Whilst they are doing that, they are not cleaning up other areas of the borough.”
A draft of the Dorset-wide Gypsy and Traveller development plan document is set to be published at the end of this month, listing the proposed sites that will go forward to the next round of consultation.
More than 370 suggested sites for Traveller pitches were consulted on in the last public consultation, which closed in February.
A Dorset County Council spokesman said that number was “substantially reduced” for the next stage as many sites had already been deemed unsuitable.