Travellers undeterred

Travellers make camp on the roundabout at the bottom of Cutsyke Road, Castleford.'Council officials made an earth wall, to prevent them from using the grass verge as a camp site. Undetered, the travellers returned and parked up on the opposite side of the roundabout.'p6229b136'Picture: Andrew Bellis.
Travellers make camp on the roundabout at the bottom of Cutsyke Road, Castleford.'Council officials made an earth wall, to prevent them from using the grass verge as a camp site. Undetered, the travellers returned and parked up on the opposite side of the roundabout.'p6229b136'Picture: Andrew Bellis.
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ATTEMPTS to keep travellers away from land near an Ackton roundabout have failed to stop a new camp springing up across the road.

Wakefield Council diggers constructed earth mounds at the site at the bottom of Castleford Lane last week to deter travellers moving on to the land.

But several caravans at the traveller hotspot have this week moved on to a bridle path on the other side of the roundabout, just yards away from the earth mounds.

A nearby resident, who did not want to be named, said: “They’re constantly there. They use the side of the road like a toilet, defecating and leaving their wipes blowing around.

“We don’t like their presence. They light fires on the grass and they leave plenty of debris. The same people that were there last week have just moved across the bypass.

“The council said that it has to go to court and get them moved and it takes weeks every time.”

Residents say a group of travellers first moved on to the land at the end of July and left on August 21. Three caravans moved back onto the land on August 23 but were evicted by the council and the police the next day.

But despite attempts by the council to use piles of soil to prevent illegal encampments, a number of travellers have moved back on to land next to the bypass linking Castleford and Normanton.

Glynn Humphries, Wakefield Council’s service director for communities said: “As soon as we were made aware of the illegal encampments we began legal action to remove them from land.

“Whenever we deal with illegal encampments we have to follow a strict legal process to enable us to remove the travellers and unfortunately this cannot be done instantly.

“Where there is a persistent problem with illegal encampments targeting the same site we try to find the best measure, within our budget, to prevent them from returning, and the recent earth mounds did manage to stop the travellers going on to the land that was previously occupied.

“However with the size of the district and the very nature of illegal encampments it is very difficult to secure against them being set up.

“We will continue use the legal powers available to us and any other measures we believe will be appropriate to tackle illegal encampments.”

At a council meeting in July, deputy leader Denise Jeffery said the authority would be reviewing its provision of traveller sites across the district.