Call for action as more illegal travellers' camps spring up across Bradford (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Call for action as more illegal travellers' camps spring up across Bradford
Updated 5:25pm Thursday 10th July 2014 in News
Travellers from Lancashire have now invaded a prime Council-owned development site in Baildon and others are refusing to quit their camp at Low Moor Cenotaph, Bradford, despite promising to leave days ago.
A convoy of eight caravans and vehicles originating from Rochdale was reported to police as it gathered in a lay-by on Otley Road, Baildon, at 8pm on Wednesday.
But officers were unable to stop the travellers moving a large concrete barrier and then rolling on to the Buck Lane site where Bradford Council is creating a high-tech business park.
Baildon Councillor Val Townend was alerted by angry residents:
"The police knew almost immediately what was going on, but were unable to do anything and now the travellers have said they're going to stay for a week," Cllr Townend (Con) said.
"They are fully aware of all the legal formalities and now it will take at least that long until they can be removed.
"Meantime it's ridiculous that Baildon and Bradford ratepayers have to fund all this nonsense. These people should stick to life's rules just as everybody else has to.
"And the Council fails to act to make these sites secure when they know what's going to happen every summer."
Edward Butterworth, secretary of pressure group BRAID, which campaigns against development of the Buck Lane site, said: "Another sorry example of the lack of professionalism and foresight that has dogged the whole of the Buck Lane development."
"The Council can't provide the necessary security any more than it can provide the promised 700 new jobs."
Cllr Warburton said: "Any sympathy at all for these people has gone out of the window.
"They don't have any right to be there and it's despicable.
"They have lied to our officers and have no real intention of leaving until they are forced to go through legal means.
"It's an abuse of the system and these hard-pressed times for ordinary people it's not something our communities are prepared to tolerate any more."
Shipley MP Philip Davies, whose constituency includes Baildon, blasted Bradford Council's handling of the seasonal problem of trespassing travellers on Council-owned land.
"My constituents are sick of Bradford Council pussyfooting around this problem - it needs to get a grip," Mr Davies said.
"It can't claim to be surprised when this happens every year and that's because they do not make such sites secure.
"Yet again Bradford Council has failed spectacularly."
John Major, the Council's assistant director environmental health and regulatory services, said: "We have been made aware of the site on Buck Lane and will be visiting it as soon as possible.
"If travellers are on Council-owned land we will be starting the court process straight away to obtain a possession order to remove those camped on it."
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said it was liaising with the Council regarding the travellers' at Buck Lane and Low Moor Cenotaph and would take any necessary enforcement action at the earliest opportunity.