Travellers return to picnic site after five evictions
THE return of travellers to a site that has seen five evictions over recent years has met with an angry reaction from councillors and local residents.
Several families have returned to Five Bridges lay-by on the A30 at West Stour over recent weeks.
Councillor Bob Dolan, chairman of Buckhorn Weston and Kington Magna Parish Council, said local people were outraged by the return of six caravans to the unauthorised site.
He said: "The feeling is one of total disbelief. What is the point of eviction if it isn't permanent and they can just roll back?"
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Travellers were evicted from the site in April 2005, January 2007, December 2007, October 2008 and August 2011. The site had been occupied for almost two years when the last eviction took place.
Mr Dolan added: "We have notified North Dorset District Council and we're told the eviction process will take a long time.
"The council spent thousands of pounds evicting them last summer - it is a total farce. The site was a popular picnic area and lorry stop-over but people are avoiding it now.
"The biggest problem last time was the filth. The site needed a huge amount of clearing up after the rubbish they left behind."
Dave Ayre, head of countryside and business development at Dorset County Council, said the authority had been in communication with the travellers but had no authorised site available to move them on to.
"The county council needs to take a proper and informed decision on whether and when to evict the site, and it is too early to say how long this encampment may be in place," he said.
The Five Bridges site has been earmarked as a six-pitch transit site in Dorset's Gypsy and Traveller Sites Development Plan Document. The draft document, produced by Baker Associates, aims to satisfy the county's statutory obligation to meet the needs of gypsies and travellers over the next 15 years. The findings of public consultation carried out earlier this year are still being considered.