Protest against Bideford travellers’ site held at Riverbank House

Mike Ford and Carl Daniel outside Riverbank House on Monday morning. Mike Ford and Carl Daniel outside Riverbank House on Monday morning.

Monday, July 14, 2014
2:58 PM

Two men picketed the council offices and car park after reaching the ‘end of their tether’ over travellers near their house.

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BIDEFORD residents who have ‘reached the end of their tether’ with travellers staged a two-man protest this morning (Monday) outside Riverbank House.

Mike Ford and Carl Daniel, of Newbridge Close, said they were fed up with Torridge District Council (TDC) ‘not doing anything’ about travellers at the Cattle Market site.

At 7.30am they picketed the entrance of the council’s offices and the car park, but after police attended they agreed to sit outside the front of Riverbank House.

Mr Ford told the Gazette he had ‘nothing against’ the travellers and their choice of lifestyle but was upset at the ‘inability’ of TDC to find them a permanent site.

“All afternoon and evening their dogs are barking, and when it gets to the point you don’t want to come home from work you know it’s bad,” said Mr Ford.

“This site is right next to a primary school and Springfield Day Care Centre, and it’s on the doorstep of the council’s HQ – it’s a joke.

“I’ve just reached the end of my tether and at least I know now that I have tried to do something.”

Jenny Wallace, head of paid service at TDC, said the council had a duty to make sure the travellers had a place to stay.

“We have told Mr Ford that if he has talked to neighbours and anything has happened, they have to report it to the police,” said Mrs Wallace.

“Any noise issues are dealt with by Environmental Health officers, but they need to have evidence to get a noise abatement notice issued at a magistrates’ court.”

The council currently does not have any permanent site identified for Torridge for travellers and is working into sourcing one as part of the joint local plan.

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