Anger over council’s Bank End travellers’ site plan
PUBLISHED: 10:47 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:01 20 September 2017
Torridge District Council has approved plans for a temporary travellers’ site in Bideford - but some people are not happy about the decision.
Bideford councillors and business owners are unhappy with plans for a temporary travellers’ site in the town.
The Barge Cafe owner, Robert Hunter, said the first he heard about the plans for site, right next to his business, was in the Gazette last week.
He said: “It looks like we might be getting travellers on our doorstep; it was decided without consultation despite the fact that our café is visited not only by local families but also by thousands of tourists from the UK, and for that matter many other countries.
“The proposed traveller site will be right next to the costal path, used by thousands of walkers year round.
“The site will move travellers much closer to the well-used Victoria Park, the children’s centre, the boat slipway, picnic area along the river, dog walkers grassed area – the list goes on.
“Everybody knows that travellers have to be sited somewhere.
“Most stay within the law and can be reasonably clean and tidy; the fear from the public is the travellers who do make a mess and have dogs off leads, for example.
“It seems ridiculous for a council to bring an obvious repellent to residents and visitors right into the heart of Bideford.
“Bank End in general may not lose that many unwitting visitors but I am sure that local mums are going to steer clear of the area and probably tell their children to do the same.”
Mr Hunter called for a site outside of the town – a call echoed by deputy mayor and town councillor Doug Bushby.
Councillor Bushby said: “The town council didn’t get any notification or consultation, the first I heard was in the Gazette.
“I do sympathise with Torridge because they have to find somewhere for them to go.
“But I would suggest a far more suitable spot would be the two redundant laybys on the A39 owned by the county council.”
Torridge chose the Bank End option as the ‘most viable’ for a temporary site while it continues to search for a permanent travellers’ site in the district.
It will invest £10,000 into making the site suitable, including installing CCTV.