20th July 2012

MP Visit to Discuss Gypsy and Traveller Encampments in Bournemouth and Poole

Press Release - 20th July 2012

Bournemouth and Poole councillors and officers met with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mr Bob Neill MP, to discuss the support and advice available for local authorities in dealing with unauthorised encampments of Travellers.

Mr Neill was asked to address the concerns both Councils have in relation to operational and policy issues that surround the eviction of travellers from public parks, playing fields, open spaces and car parks.

The key areas covered included:

  • Requesting support at a national level to speed up and simplify the court process local authorities go through to evict unauthorised encampments
  • Explaining the everyday, local operational issues officers face in dealing with unauthorised Traveller groups and preventing unauthorised encampments
  • Seeking clarification on the new national Planning Policy for Traveller sites and the implications of this for Bournemouth and Poole

Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, said:
"The purpose of this meeting was to gain support from the government in changing the national legislation that local authorities work with when dealing with unauthorised encampments. I am fully aware of the frustrations of our local residents and the problems our officers encounter when dealing with unauthorised encampments. Mr Neill assured us that he would discuss with the Home Office possible changes to the legislation on this pressing issue."

Cllr Mike White, Deputy Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said:
"It is important that local authorities work together to tackle this issue and I hope that by holding a joint meeting with Mr Neill, we demonstrated our desire to work closely with our neighbours in Bournemouth. Across the conurbation we have seen a number of unauthorised encampments this year and therefore it is vital that government understand this is an issue that must be addressed."

Across Bournemouth in 2012 there have been 16 separate unauthorised encampments on public parks, playing fields, open spaces and car parks. In Poole there have been eight unauthorised encampments and three on privately owned land.

The meeting took place on 10th July 2012 at Bournemouth Borough Council's Town Hall.