“Residents in Cranbrook have hit out after more travellers arrived overnight near the town’s train station.
The number of caravans parked at the station car park are reported to have been increasing in recent weeks with three more vehicles pitching up on a grass area next to the car park on Wednesday evening.
Local resident Caroline Williams said that locals are ‘fed up’ by the situation. “Devon County Council and Cranbrook Consortium have to rid this peaceful town of travellers who turn up cause havoc,” she said.
“When they finally get moved on the mess and filth is there for weeks and then just when it gets cleared another group turns up.
“Everyone has complained and nothing seems to be being done other than the travellers being provided with mobile toilets. We have asked for better security around the train station as it is now seen as an easy target but no one seem willing to help. It’s beyond a joke.
“People no longer use the park and ride and many more now taken then bus to avoid the area – something needs to be done. Residence (sic) here love Cranbrook and are building a community that is being ruined and seemingly forgotten about.”
A spokesman for Cranbrook Town Council said the it is hoped that the travellers will be moved on by the end of Thursday.
“This morning (Thursday) we received confirmation from the Consortium, who own the Country Park, that they have arranged for the eviction of travellers on the Consortium land and hopefully eviction will happen today,” said the spokesman.
“They are also contacting Devon County Council on an hourly basis regarding their enforcement action on the station car park, which is owned by Devon County Council.
“We understand that no repair works to anything will take place until the travellers have departed. We fully understand how frustrating this situation is and empathise with residents’ feelings. We keep doing everything we can to keep the pressure up so that those who are responsible for resolving this unsatisfactory situation initiate action.”
Sally Woodbury, chairman of the Romany Gypsy Advisory Group and spokesman for travellers groups in the region, has called on councils across the region to provide more provision for them.
A new government policy blocks anyone identifying as a Gypsy or Traveller from staying on permanent caravan sites unless they can prove they have travelled several times that year.
She said: “There is definitely a real lack of sites for travellers and transport provision in Devon. I have been speaking on behalf of travellers for several years now and the issues are getting worse and there are less and less places for them to go.
“It is all very well people saying that we don’t want travellers here, but then there needs to be a provision for somewhere for them to go instead. Most travellers I speak to would be happy if there were sites for somewhere for them to go and pay rent, have toilet and rubbish collections facilities, and stay there for a while before then moving onto the next site. But until there are enough sites put in place for this to happen, everyone’s hands are tied and the occupation of sites will keep happening each year.
“There needs to be more provision for travellers as we are just going around in circles year after year, and it feels like it is getting worse.”