MP Steve Webb joins calls for South Gloucestershire Council to install tougher security on Yate Common after traveller encampment
PRESSURE is being mounted on South Gloucestershire Council to install tougher security measures to prevent travellers from getting onto Yate Common in future.
Dog walkers and nearby residents say they have united since a group with eight caravans moved off the land at the weekend.
Councillors and Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb are also making calls for security improvements to be made to gates which were designed to stop unauthorised vehicles accessing the 128-acre site.
Lin Kendall, chairman of the Friends of Yate Common who lives opposite on St Briavel’s Drive, said the site had been left in a mess since the travellers departed after nearly two weeks.
"It is awful," she said. "There are bags of rubbish which are split open and there is human waste all over the place.
"There is lots in the ditch and all the verges need clearing out. It is just not right."
She added: "The only good thing having them over there is that people who actually use the common are united.
"People who didn't talk before are talking so it has brought the community together."
Mr Webb said there were a number of tougher measures which could be implemented.
"There is a lot we can do to make the site secure," he told the Gazette. "It has been left in a mess, which is just unacceptable, so we are demanding that the council finally makes the site secure as prevention is better than cure."
Mr Webb, who has been criticised for not reacting to people’s concerns when the travellers moved onto the common, added: "Local people are understandably very angry as this could have been prevented. We are taking a very strong line on this with the council."
Cllr Sue Walker (Lib Dem, Yate Central) said: "This has happened before and in the past we have had to go to great lengths to ensure this problem is sorted.
"It seems we know it is going to crop up but not enough is being done. It is possible to put up stronger security. Children should be able to enjoy the common during their summer holidays."
Sally Woodbury, from the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups, said South Gloucestershire Council had been 'doing its best' to find official sites for travellers but until residents worked with their local authorities, illegal encampments like the one on Yate Common would be inevitable.
"Councils can't do anything because local people won't let them, they all say not in my back yard," she said. "But until councils do something these illegal encampments will continue."
South Gloucestershire Council said the common was cleaned as soon as the land was vacated, although residents say bags of rubbish are still on site.
A spokesman for the authority added: “Following the recent traveller occupation of Yate Common, we are currently investigating ways to help prevent illegal access to the common, including measures to increase security and to make it harder for vehicles to gain access.
“An on-site meeting with a security contractor has been arranged to look at ways to increase gate security and any other reasonable preventative measures that will make illegal access to the common more difficult.”
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