'Keep out'

PUBLISHED: 16:35 12 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:07 24 May 2010

CALLS are being made to make Portishead 'traveller proof' after a group set up temporary home in the town. The group of about 12 caravans arrived in the town last Tuesday night, initially on land behind the park and ride at Harbour Road. The land is owned

CALLS are being made to make Portishead 'traveller proof' after a group set up temporary home in the town.The group of about 12 caravans arrived in the town last Tuesday night, initially on land behind the park and ride at Harbour Road.The land is owned by Persimmon Homes and on Wednesday morning, the travellers were served with notices asking them to vacate the site immediately.By the afternoon, they had moved on again, up to The Vale, parking up just for an hour before being evicted.The group damaged between 80 and 100 sapling trees, planted along the verge of Harbour Road, to get into the site, with tree guards being left scattered across the land.Now community safety leaders in the town are calling for vulnerable areas in the town to be safeguarded to prevent future encampments.Portishead LAT chairman Geraldine Box said: "Portishead needs to be made traveller proof."There is a lot of open space in the town which is waiting to be developed and it is these vulnerable areas which need to be protected from future encampments of travellers."What really worried me was that one of the travellers actually asked the people who were evicting them if there was any council land they could go on."A lot of people are concerned that the Lake Grounds is one area which could be particularly vulnerable to travellers."This is not the first time travellers have set up camp in the area. In 1999 a group moved on to land at the docks.And only three years ago a large number of caravans moved on to the Gordano School sports fields, leaving a trail of mess behind them. Developers have this week built a large, earth bund at the bottom of Sheepway in a bid to stop travellers from parking up on the neighbouring fields.Portishead councillor John Clark, whose ward covers Harbour Road, said: "I hope the landowners will take the appropriate steps to prevent any further unlawful occupation of their land."A spokesman for Persimmon Homes said: " In order to progress with the ongoing redevelopment of Portishead, access to the land marked for development has to remain open."Persimmon does not give consent to anyone parking or living on land owned by the company. "In the event of any unauthorised intrusion onto land owned by the company, we will rely on the legal process that allows us to remove those concerned within a 24-hour period.

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