From the Daily Echo
THE safety of children, dogs and walkers is being put at risk by Travellers taking over Poole’s open spaces, the Deputy Mayor says.
Councillor Graham Wilson says residents and their animals were put in danger by Travellers’ vehicles moving on and off Whitecliff Recreation Ground last week.
He’s calling for “something to be done” before someone is hurt.
Recent weeks have seen camps spring up at Canford Heath, Haskells Recreation Ground, Broadstone Recreation Ground, Haskells Recreation Ground and Branksome Chine beach car park.
Cllr Wilson, for Newtown ward, said: “I’m concerned that our wonderful open spaces, which people use as an area to play in and enjoy, should remain as free as they possibly can.
“When these larger vehicles are being manoeuvred around, travelling between the point they’re camped and site entrances, they are crossing open fields, compromising the safety of children, old people and pets.
“I’m just worried somebody’s going to be hurt.”
Cllr Wilson has raised the issue with highways and environmental and consumer protection services at the council, and asked for it to be considered at the next Overview and Scrutiny committee. There is a discrepancy between the powers to stop motorbikes on heathland, he says, and vehicles used by travellers.
He added: “I’m not waiting for an accident to happen.
“People could be in danger.”
Jeff Morley, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole, said the council has a good track record of moving Travellers on but has a legal duty to respect their lifestyle and balance their needs against those of settled residents.
Residents are invited to raise questions and suggestions at Wednesday’s Newtown area committee meeting. The session starts at 7pm at the Evangelical Church in Ringwood Road.