TRAVELLERS camping illegally in Dorset can now be directed to a new council-run site near Dorchester.
Dorset County Council’s summer-only transit site is now ready to use at Piddlehinton.
Work has been going on over the last few weeks to get it ready including installing CCTV cameras in the area to reassure firms at the enterprise park opposite, a planning condition requirement.
DCC is arranging to put a portable building on the land for management plus portable toilets.
All facilities will be temporary and removed when the site is not in use.
It will cater for up to 25 caravans between March and August until 2016, and will offer police somewhere to move visiting groups who come to Dorset and camp illegally. Having such a facility also allows authorities to act more swiftly to evict travellers if they refuse to leave unauthorised sites.
Planning permission was given at a heated meeting in May which was attended by local residents who spoke against the proposal.
Later, the Gypsy Council likened the site to a ‘concentration camp’, criticising the planned security measures.
Enterprise park traders have also spoke of their concerns.
But it has been welcomed by councillors in Weymouth who say it should stop the problem of travellers setting up camps in car parks.
Weymouth’s park and ride site has been a regular stopping off point for travellers in recent years, including last month when concerns were expressed that all visitors should have to pay for their stay.
Borough councillor for Radipole Bill White said: “I’m really glad this new facility is up and running, it’s very welcome.
“It’s been very difficult in the past when groups have come here and camped illegally, there’s concern for a variety of reasons.
“With the opening of this site it means groups can be directed there. It makes things straight forward and allows the police to act right away.”
County councillor for Lodmoor David Mannings added: “It’s been a long time coming. I’m glad it’s finally open.
“It will speed up the process when dealing with travellers.”