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Dorset travellers' camp 'not long-term solution'
THE boss of a popular Dorset fair said a new transit camp for travellers is not a long-term solution to the ongoing influx onto public land.
Martin Oliver, the managing director of the Great Dorset Steam Fair, will open the site in Tarrant Hinton near Blandford on August 21 – a week before the launch of the event.
This will give police the power to move illegally camped travellers to the official site, which will house up to 100 caravans, or escort them out of the county.
It comes after travellers moved onto a Duchy of Cornwall-owned playing field at Poundbury.
They have been given notice to quit the site by today.
The group has criticised authorities for not providing them anywhere to go.
It is understood they will be asking for permission to stay until tomorrow so they can get a vehicle fixed before they head to the steam fair.
Mr Oliver said: “The travellers’ site for the steam fair is exactly that.
“It is for travellers coming to the steam fair.
“It is not for problem areas in the rest of the county or to push travellers to Tarrant Hinton.
“It has specifically been created as a temporary site for travellers visiting the fair, and that’s it.”
Dorset’s local authorities are working towards finding gypsy and traveller sites.
They say they are doing everything they can to stop illegal traveller camps in the wake of new guidance from the government.
But Dorchester town, district and county councillor Trevor Jones said: “It must be two or more years ago since I had a passing involvement in a joint exercise between Dorset councils to identify sites where travellers could legally stop.
“My understanding is that once that exercise has been finalised, councils have stronger legal powers to deal with unauthorised encampments.
“Sadly, despite the employment of expensive consultants I’m not aware that the exercise has even been concluded.
“I don’t know why and I will be making inquiries into this.”
Margaret Morrissey from the Poundbury Residents’ Association said the process was ongoing to remove the group from the playing field.
She said: “You do not just go into someone’s back garden and camp there.
“If you want to live in this land you must abide by its laws.”
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