Council must address traveller pitches issue
This week the PT has received a number of complaints from readers on the subject of illegal encampments at various sites across the city. Members of the travelling community have the right to live their lives as they choose and that right should be defended. But city residents also have the right to use their local facilities uninterrupted by vehicles and in some instances rubbish. In one instance a youth football training session was abandoned when a vehicle moved across the pitch - that is not acceptable. It’s hard for people to understand why no immediate police action was taken when that incident happened and why it takes so long to resolve the problem when an illegal encampment is set up in a park or near football pitches. Many residents have contacted us to express their deep anger and frustration at the state of some public areas in the city after an illegal encampment has been moved on. There are many examples of traveller encampments where rubbish is not left everywhere - so when areas are left rubbish-strewn and filthy it is no wonder people become so frustrated and angry. The fact is that there is very little provision in the city for temporary traveller pitches. Setting up suitable sites has been an issue that has been ‘tackled’ many times by the city council over the last decade and yet is still unresolved. With appropriate provision for temporary pitches illegal encampments can be moved on and travellers can stop over without moving on to public areas.