Plymouth Council Under Pressure Regarding Unauthorised Traveller Camps

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Following disruptions caused by unauthorised Traveller camps last summer, Plymouth’s council leaders are facing calls to take more decisive action, according to recent statements. A representative for Plympton St Mary, who serves as an Independent councillor, highlighted the significant inconvenience and added costs incurred by residents and the local authority due to Travellers setting up camp in playing fields and parks.

The council has the authority to issue a ‘notice to quit’ to encourage the departure of Travellers. However, if this measure proves ineffective, the council must resort to obtaining a possession order through the courts, a process that often spans several days.

Reflecting on the surge of unauthorised encampments following re-election last May, the councillor noted instances reported across the city, including Glen Road, King George Playing Fields, Prince Rock Playing Fields, Tothill Park, Knowle Battery, and Peacock Meadow in the Plympton Colebrook ward. Efforts by the council’s community connections team were praised, but there was an emphasis on learning from past experiences to enhance future responses.

In a motion accepted by the full council, consideration of a dedicated budget and a review of the council’s policy regarding authorised encampments were proposed. The councillor emphasised the necessity of actions to mitigate impacts and preserve green spaces for community recreational use, noting the constraints imposed when such areas are occupied by unauthorised encampments.

Highlighting specific instances, it was noted that the occupation of Peacock Meadow by 20 caravans last year rendered the green space and adjacent community centre inaccessible to residents. There was a call for vigilance to prevent a recurrence of such disruptions in the upcoming summer period.

Another councillor, also an Independent representing Plympton Erle, echoed concerns about the encroachment of Travellers onto green spaces, play areas, and pitches. The detrimental impact on the city’s street services budget, resulting in delays in projects significant to Plymouth’s residents, was stressed.

While Plymouth maintains a 13-pitch permanent Gypsy and Traveller site at Bayview, no further approvals have been granted despite proposed plans. Notably, the council incurred a £7,000 expense last year to remove hazardous waste from Prince Rock Playing Field after the departure of Travellers.

Efforts to address the challenges posed by unauthorised Traveller camps remain a focal point for Plymouth’s council. As discussions ensue regarding potential policy adjustments and resource allocations, the community anticipates measures that effectively balance the rights of all stakeholders while preserving the integrity of public spaces. The forthcoming summer season will serve as a litmus test for the council’s responsiveness to these pressing concerns.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigg
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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