SITES in Ilkley where there have been problems with travellers setting up camp are to be made more secure.

Bradford Council is looking at measures to protect land where there have been issues over the summer.

Members of Ilkley Town Council were told about the plans by Sue Gledhill, ward officer for Keighley and Ilkley representing Bradford Council at a meeting last week.

She said various incidents with travellers over the summer had been problematic but the council had tried to make the sites more secure.

She told the meeting Booths had gone through a court order process to force travellers to move from its land - but this was a lengthy process which could take a week to ten days. Camps had usually moved on by the time a legal order was obtained, she said.

“So what we are trying to do is to make sure that sites as not as vulnerable as they have been during various parts of the summer,” she said.

She said there had been an issue this year at a time when people were concerned about social distancing.

She added: “There is a plan in place to look at the sites that we have had problems with and make them more secure.”

But she added: “It is a little bit difficult in terms of not creating a fortress really, and something aesthetically that would not go down badly with residents.”

In August measures were being called for to stop travellers setting up camp in Ilkley at a site off Denton Road.

Residents said a permanent solution was needed to stop the camps which had appeared at least three times during lockdown and which they said were breaking Covid-19 restrictions.

Speaking at the time the town’s MP Robbie Moore said: “It is both frustrating and disappointing that travellers have once again set up camp in Ilkley. I know that both the council and the police have been notified by local councillors. I too have brought this to their attention asking to be kept up to date with enforcement action.

“I know from being contacted by constituents that there are concerns which need to be raised with the travellers breaching the new temporary local lockdown measures. This is again something which I have raised with both the council and police.”

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth had described the West Holme Field area as being “under threat” and said she was investigating ways of making it secure. She suggested the possibility of a ditch or bund around the perimeter to prevent vehicles manoeuvring onto the site, with restricted entrances for council maintenance.

Cllr Mike Gibbons said: “I have had a number of calls and emails and the feeling is that enough is enough and we need to find permanent solutions to deter these people”