It was disappointing to hear that travellers had gained access to Broadstone Recreation Ground towards the end of July. The additional security features that had been introduced a few years ago had proved successful in deterring unauthorised incursions, but as has now been shown, it is virtually impossible to achieve 100% security.
I met the police on site within a few minutes of being told of the travellers’ arrival. I can assure readers the police did everything they could. Council officers also attended the site within an hour, carried out the necessary checks and initiated the process that led to the travellers’ eviction. Inevitably I received numerous emails and phone calls from concerned residents. The most frequently asked questions included:
- Why don’t the police move the travellers since they are trespassing? The police can only do this if the local authority has a designated transit site and Poole does not. Travellers cannot be redirected to another local authority by the police.
- Why don’t the police arrest the travellers for forced entry and criminal damage? The police have to be able to identify the person who actually cut the padlock. In the current example the police had a description and carried out a search but the individual, as is usually the case, had left the site immediately after gaining access.
- Why can’t the council evict the travellers immediately? The council does not have such powers. They have to arrange for child welfare checks and apply to the court in order to obtain an eviction notice. Once this has been served the travellers must leave within 24 hours. This whole process usually takes around 7 days. To minimise litter and damage the council provides toilets and rubbish bags and skip.
- Why doesn’t the council establish a transit site as this would appear to be the best solution? There is a shortage of possible locations in Poole, and the last attempt failed at the planning stage since when the Conservative administration has decided not to identify any other sites.
A more secure lock has now been fitted to the gate but in response to a residents’ survey I have carried out I will be pressing for additional security arrangements.
Rather bizarrely I have just received notification from the council that, as part of the currents cuts to services, a number of gates to Broadstone’s open spaces will no longer be locked each night. It is yet another decision that has been made by without consultation. I have therefore contacted organisations that might be affected by this reduction in security.
A number of residents have contacted me over safety issues following the erection of hoardings on the McCarthy and Stone site. I have taken this up so changes will be made to improve visibility for those residents crossing Dunyeats Road. I have also been assured that we can use part of the hoardings for a community notice board whilst construction work continues.
My September surgery is Saturday 12th in Broadstone Library 10.00am – 12.00noon returning to the First Saturday in each month from October.
Cllr Mike Brooke