Town centre traveller camp

Travellers have moved onto the site of the old fire station on Stuart Road in Pontefract. (P523B334)
Travellers have moved onto the site of the old fire station on Stuart Road in Pontefract. (P523B334)
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Moves are being made to evict a traveller camp set up on the site of the former Pontefract fire station in the town centre since the weekend.

Around a dozen mobile homes arrived at the Stuart Road site on Sunday. One of a ring of boulders designed to secure access to the land was moved, allowing vehicles on.

Pontefract north councillor Paula Sherriff said steps were already being taken to get the travellers moved on.

She said: “It’s right in the town centre, it’s very unfortunate and particularly with that site, where it’s a gateway into Pontefract. It’s very frustrating.

“Obviously we are taking steps to move them on as soon as possible. The problem is they do leave a significant amount of mess and littering.”

Coun Sherriff said it was believed it was the same group of travellers which had previously been parked at the former Pontefract General Infirmary site, and were then at the old Park Side pub on Park Road last week.

She added: “We do put in a lot of measures to protect these derelict sites, but each time they seem to overcome them, whether it’s fencing, or boulders on this occasion.”

The old fire station was bulldozed last year, after West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service moved to a new station on Knottingley Road.

Coun Sherriff said: “The council has a traveller liaison officer who was made immediately aware and we are working closely with the police. There is a legal procedure we have to adhere to.”

Glynn Humphries, service director for the environment and streetscene, said: “As soon as we were made aware of the unauthorised encampment, we have been working with the police to remove the travellers from the site as quickly as possible.

“We are looking to serve a legal notice to obtain a Possession Order to remove the travellers from the site.”