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'Teething problems' over new travellers' transit site
THE FIRST travellers have arrived at a new transit site in Piddlehinton.
Travellers have also set up near Monkeys Jump roundabout just outside Dorchester but Dorset County Council say they will not be moved on to the transit site.
The county council confirmed that the temporary transit site at Piddlehinton was ready to use earlier this month.
It had its first opportunity to put the site to the test when a group of travellers set up camp in the village of Piddlehinton on Wednesday, but not at the transit site.
The county council’s gypsy and traveller liaison officer visited the travellers and was able to persuade them to move to the official site.
A spokesman for the council said: “We were informed about the encampment at Piddlehinton on Wednesday afternoon and our liaison officer visited the site in the evening and suggested moving onto the transit site.
“They moved there in the morning and we have now got our first incumbents.
“There are five caravans and they have all paid their rent.
“They didn’t know the site was there, otherwise they would have moved straight on to it.”
Local district councillor Jacqui Cuff said it was clear there were some ‘teething problems’ with directing the travellers to the site and said she would be monitoring the issue closely.
She said: “When they pitched up they pitched up on private land at the Enterprise Park so there was a quite a bit of concern about that. But the police and gypsy liaison officer responded very promptly and organised for them to move to the transit site.
“So there are issues but there are going to be teething problems.”
The county council was granted planning permission to use the site earlier this year, despite objections from local councillors and residents as well as businesses at the neighbouring Piddlehinton Enterprise Park.
The transit site is able to cater for up to 25 caravans between March and August up until 2016.
Regarding the travellers at Monkeys Jump, the council spokesman said they were regular visitors to the site who had not caused any problems in the past and the council would not be moving them on to the transit site.
The spokesman said: “The gypsy liaison team have visited the encampment at Monkeys Jump.
“They are regular visitors to the area and leave the area really tidy. We have negotiated with them and they will move on within a couple of weeks. We are quite happy for them to be there.”