A GROUP of travellers were moved off Chantry playing field in Thornbury last Saturday after spending more than a week on the site.

On Thursday, July 17 six caravans moved on to the fields backing on to Stafford Crescent where they remained for over a week.

The Thornbury constabulary issued the travellers with a notice to leave the site within 24 hours on Friday morning and the last travellers left early on Saturday morning.

Nearby residents raised public health concerns, particularly regarding waste disposal before the travellers moved off the site.

One resident, whose house looks over the field, and did not wish to be named, said: “I’m outraged, we don’t want them here, the playing fields looked lovely and now they’re driving all over them, they will ruin it.”

Another resident, who is 65 and also did not want to be named, said: “The illegal occupation of the Chantry Field raises the pressing question of hygiene and public health since there are neither waste disposal nor toilet facilities nor clean water supplies on the field.

“There is also a real threat from the contamination of the land by rotting food waste and bodily waste unless steps are taken immediately to remove the campers before such contamination becomes widespread, rendering the field unsuitable for sports or leisure use for a considerable time.

“I am aware of several elderly local residents who are very concerned by the presence of the campers and the potential for increased criminal offences against property and the person, as well as the likelihood of public health problems arising from dumped waste on the field.

“I feel distinctly uncomfortable about the presence of these caravans on the field and have had to take increased security precautions because I feel that my property may be threatened.”

The Thornbury Town Council’s town clerk, Judith Payne said: “The main group of travellers left on Saturday (26th) morning. South Gloucestershire Council will be in charge of the clean-up.

“I went down to have a word with the travellers whilst the police and trading standards were there – we had to follow the procedure, we couldn’t just kick them off.

“We’re now building a bund to stop anyone getting on to the fields in the future and there will also be a height barrier which can be moved by unlocking it.

“South Gloucestershire Council acted quickly and efficiently and the travellers moved off after being asked to by the police.”

Similar installations are also being put in place at Mundy playing fields, in the town, to prevent anyone driving on to the fields there.

In 2008 a group of travellers moved in to the Thornbury Leisure Centre car park and after a long dispute a permanent traveller’s site was put in place at Tytherington Road Nursery in Thornbury.