Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Plymouth City Council Transit Site Consultation

Plymouth City Council have begun a public consultation on a much needed proposed new transit site on Broadley Park Industrial Estate. Public consultation events start today (25/09) at Woolwell Community Centre from 2pm to 6.30pm and again on the 2nd October. An exhibition will also run for six weeks at the George Park and Ride between until the 12th October, as well as an opportunity to comment by completing an online survey. 06/10/12 - Plymouth City Council has announced it will be holding another Have Your Say meeting at Woolwell Community Centre 9th October 6 - 8pm Plymouth Herald article here

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Claim that Traveller was asked on to council land

From the West Briton
AN INVESTIGATION is being demanded into claims a Cornwall Council officer encouraged a Traveller to move onto council-owned land.

St Agnes Parish Council is writing to chief executive Kevin Lavery over the allegation against Gypsy liaison officer, Phil Eaton, that he also urged the man to occupy private land next to a flagship business park.

The Traveller arrived on land behind Wheal Kitty business park last week, where David Knowles, a convicted drug dealer has also been living. Knowles was sentenced to two years in jail in July 2010 for the possession of amphetamine and intent to supply while at Wheal Kitty. He recently returned to the illegal camp.

Businesses there have complained about loud music and feeling intimidated by the travellers.

Parish councillor Dawn Brown said the new arrival dumped a dilapidated bus metres from offices.

Within hours of arrival he was seen trying to gain access to Cornwall Council-owned land vacated by Denis Watkins, who lived in a caravan near the park for several years. Mr Watkins was moved to sheltered accommodation after serving a nine-month prison sentence for shooting a teenager in the leg with a .22 air rifle last year.

"We've now got two people illegally camped at Wheal Kitty. The Traveller has been abusive and threatened people," said Mrs Brown.

She further claimed Mr Eaton had invited the Traveller to enter the site.

"What concerns me is that a business owner at Wheal Kitty was told by the Traveller that he had been told by the Gypsy liaison officer to park by the buildings and that he would be transferred to the Cornwall Council-owned field.

"The officer was then overheard telling the Traveller to move onto the site."

Cornwall Council refuted the claim saying the land was not offered for use by the Gypsy liaison officer.

But on Monday night, Mrs Brown told parish council members she wanted a fuller explanation on how the Traveller came to Wheal Kitty and the officer's handling of the case, repeating the claims.

Members agreed to call on Mr Lavery to investigate the claim.

Police were called to the scene on Thursday when contractor Cormac arrived to install large granite boulders in the entrance to the council-owned field. Cornwall Council has also imposed an injunction on the field vacated by Watkins to prevent anyone from entering.

The council can do nothing about the private land, owned by and registered to a woman in Australia.

A businesswoman, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said she no longer invited clients to the park or visited the office alone at weekends. She said: "We have seen lots of cars and people arriving at night and weekends. They play rave music and there is human excrement everywhere."

She added: "We have been warned (by Cornwall Council) not to approach the Traveller without a police presence. When Denis was here we felt safe."

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Travellers' group pitch up again at Central Park in Plymouth

From the Plymouth Herald

TRAVELLERS have illegally pitched up at Central Park – for the second time within two months.

Five caravans as well as 4x4s and several cars gained access to green space near Goals off Outland Road on Friday.

Cllr Martin Leaves, who represents Peverell ward, has asked council officers to investigate whether gates to the area were left unsecure.

He said: "This is the third time within a couple of years that we have seen Travellers gaining access to the green space of Central Park. Almost every time the gates have been left open.

"It is the same problem this time – the barrier located at the top of Barn Park Lane was left open, allowing the Travellers to get on to Loves Field.

"It is not good enough; gates are put in place to keep Travellers off the park, which once again will leave a mess for the city tax payer to clean up."

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said they had been made aware of the unauthorised encampment and were undertaking the required welfare checks.

She said: "We are following our normal procedures for dealing with unauthorised encampments."

The council deals with around 25 illegal encampments every year, partly because there are no organised transit sites in Plymouth.

Strict legal guidelines mean each unauthorised encampment can take between ten days and four weeks to evict.

The only permanent Gypsy and Traveller camp in the city is at The Ride, next to Chelson Meadow.

Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council was unavailable for comment last night.

Public consultation over planned Gypsy and Traveller site in Plymouth

From the Plymouth Herald

A PUBLIC consultation has been launched over a proposed Gypsy and Traveller site.

Fifteen transit pitches could be built on land owned by the council at Broadley Park, near Roborough, under the controversial plans.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, cabinet member for co-operatives and community development, said: "I know that this is a sensitive issue but we do need a proactive approach to dealing with unauthorised encampments. These are affecting more and more neighbourhoods and we can't ignore the problems they cause. Providing a transit site would mean we expect to see a reduction in the number of unauthorised encampments and subsequently we hope to ease community tension."

Residents and businesses are being asked for their views on the site designs and management arrangements.

Unauthorised encampments in Plymouth cost the council up to £300,000 a year in clean-up costs. Last year there were 40.

The six-week consultation will include two public events at Woolwell Community Centre, on September 25 and October 2, from 2pm to 6.30pm. There will also be an exhibition at the George Park and Ride between September 24 and October 12. Further events will be held for businesses and Gypsy and Traveller communities.