Fri, 08 Jun 2018
AUTHORITIES say they are doing all they can to deal with traveller sites, but admit they are facing a “quite unusual situation”.
In recent weeks, travellers have been on Newbury’s Stroud Green, Newbury Racecourse, Thatcham’s Bradley-Moore Square, Thatcham FC’s ground at Waterside Park and two sites in Theale.
Acting superintendent for West Berkshire Lindsey Finch said: “I understand that there is a huge frustration in some local communities at the moment.
“We are in quite an unusual situation as we have had 22 unauthorised encampments across the West Berkshire area since May 3.”
“I would like to reassure people that we are visiting and monitoring all of those unauthorised encampments... we assess levels of criminality as well as the welfare of people who are living on those sites. This helps us to make sure that everybody, is kept safe.
“We’ll continue to do that and will deal with those situations as and when they arise.”
The council can direct travellers to leave, but failing this a formal application must go to the magistrates’ court, which can take up to two weeks.
The council said it was establishing ways to secure land and protect vulnerable locations.
West Berkshire Council’s portfolio holder for countryside, Jeanette Clifford (Con, Northcroft), said: “I’d like to reassure our residents concerned about traveller encampments, particularly the sites at Thatcham and Theale, that we at West Berkshire Council are doing all we can to deal with the situation.
“We know that sometimes residents feel that we move slowly in dealing with unauthorised encampments, but this isn’t the case. We follow a process properly and we get results. We would like to thank residents for their patience.”
Issues can be reported by calling Thames Valley Police on 101 or West Berkshire Council on (01635) 551111.