Will legal camps avoid Warwick eyesores?

editorial image

Complaints about the mess left by Gypsies and travellers illegally camped on the edge of Chase Meadow in Warwick have reached the Courier from people who ask not be publically named.

here are at least two weeks left of the district council’s public consultation over its preferred locations for eight permanent sites.

But in the meantime reports of travellers setting up unauthorised, short-term camps in St Nicholas Park, on the edge of Warwick Racecourse and at Tapping Way in Chase Meadow, have all led to calls for the police to take some action.

One man, who took photographs of the unauthorised camp in Tapping Way, said after the travellers moved off, he found ten large piles of rubbish.

He said: “I found everything from gas cylinders to discarded toys, crockery to cardboard boxes plus a large amount of faeces.

“Most of this was dog waste but there was some human waste as well.”

On Monday a waste management service request was made via the district council’s website.

Complainants said there was not a specific category for cleaning up after travellers - they described it as fly tipping.

This Easter perhaps district councillors will call on the “Wisdom of Solomon” to reach decisions on where to push ahead with permanent sites near Radford Semele, Bishops Tachbrook, Tachbrook Hill, Westham Lane, Barford, east of Europa Way, Brookside Willows in Banbury Road, a site close to the Barford by-pass and another off Birmingham Road, Budbrooke.

The Government says provision must be made in all Local Plans for permanent sites to meet the needs of the travelling - and increasingly non-travelling community.

Meanwhile Independent Whitnash councillor Tony Heath says it is time to stop “pandering” to travellers, and his colleague Judy Felp insists there should be no compulsory purchase orders of land from those unwilling to sell.

But Mike Doherty, of the Traveller Movement, which is a registered charity, said: “Hardly any local authorities in the country have met their obligations on the provision of permanent sites.

“While some travellers do live nomadic lives, to follow work, times have changed and others want to remain in settled extended families where they certainly do pay rent to landowners and taxes to the local authority.”

Mr Doherty added that some travellers now had professional jobs and wished to live permanently in one spot. He said much of the mess and stress from those nearby arose from groups simply having nowhere to deposit rubbish.