COUNCIL chiefs are considering asking travellers who set up an unauthorised camp on Weymouth’s park and ride site to pay for their stay.

Families who moved onto the Dorset County Council-owned site at Mount Pleasant have indicated they will be staying for a week.

Their arrival has prompted anger over the apparent lack of action by the council to deal with the group.

Some have suggested the travellers should be treated the same as other visiting motorists and be charged for parking.

Head of DCC’s gypsy and traveller service Dave Ayre said a temporary transit site which travellers can be directed to was not yet available, limiting the powers available to the authority and the police.

The other course of action is to go through the courts to seek an eviction but there would first have to be a ‘needs assessment.’ This will happen if the group are still there next week.

But Mr Ayre added that the council was also exploring the ‘parking enforcement route’ whereby officers, with the support of the police visit the travellers and get them to pay.

This happened at the Swannery car park on Wednesday when travellers who had stayed there overnight left after being visited by borough council parking officers and the police.

“Due to the latest development at the Swannery we are looking at that option for the park and ride site. It would be a bonus if that worked as the conventional route would be to go to court,” said Mr Ayre.

He said the council had a good relationship with the travellers at the park and ride site as they are frequent visitors to the county in the summer.

A temporary transit site next to the business park at Piddlehinton catering for up to 25 caravans was given planning permission last month.

Mr Ayre said it would be ‘days and weeks rather than months’ before the site was ready.

The main issue is getting the CCTV connected. Cameras are being put up at the entrance to the business park to give reassurance to firms.

Other facilities, such as a portable building for site management and portable toilets will be hired out by the council.

Penalties issued for wrongful stay

REGARDING the travellers at the Swannery car park, Cllr Christine James, spokesman for Transport and Infrastructure at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “There were a number of travellers located at Swannery car park.

“They have now left the site. Our parking enforcement officers worked with Dorset Police to resolve the issue and issued penalty charge notices to the vehicles parked without appropriate pay and display tickets.”