Travellers move on to wasteground at St Oswald's
TRAVELLERS have taken over wasteground near St Oswald's Retail Park.
The encampment of several caravans is thought to have arrived on Saturday morning.
They have sprawled out across the wasteground near a residential area.
City councillor Paul Toleman (C, Westgate), who represents the area, said: "I'm not too fussed so long as they don't cause a nuisance to the neighbours.
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"It isn't city council land so there is not a lot we can do about it, really. It is up to the owner of the land to take action."
In the face of growing numbers of illegal gypsy and traveller sites, council chiefs in Gloucestershire last week announced a public consultation for the whole county, which will run from today until September 20, in which members of the public nominate sites for official council traveller camps.
Some residents have reacted angrily to the arrival of the travellers. Writing on The Citizen's Facebook page, Marcus Annfield said: "Even if there were enough sites, they would still choose to destroy peaceful neighbourhoods, intimidate families in play areas, litter and cause a nuisance. Legitimate, peace-loving travelling families do exist, but they're in a minority."
But reader Paul Meadows urged people not to overreact and defended travellers.
"I know some personally and they are great people," he said.
Council chiefs in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury say they have to find a five-year supply of sites, or risk losing appeals on unauthorised sites. Gloucestershire has four sites – all are full.
A planning rule which ordered councils to consider the gypsy or traveller background of someone applying to create a caravan site has been scrapped by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who said the rule was revoked after a four-fold increase in the number of illegal gypsy and traveller sites.
The travellers declined to comment this weekend.