Angry residents packed the East Luton Area Committee meeting at Someries Junior School on Thursday evening complaining about traveller encampments at Wigmore Valley Park, Littlefield Road and Churchfield Health Centre. The main complaints were that the Council is taking too long to evict travellers and is not doing enough to make it difficult for them to access Council owned sites. It used to take the Council around five or six days to go through the legal eviction procedures but many of these encampments have been there for two weeks or more.
Speaking on behalf of the local Liberal Democrat councillors for the area, David Franks said he had been to Wigmore Valley Park and the mess was disgusting. “One area is being used as an open air toilet and the football pitches have been used as skid pads by people driving 4 x 4s and transit vans. The area is littered with heaps of ‘domestic’ refuse and hedge and tree cuttings which no doubt local residents have paid these people to remove. Of course local residents will have to pay again for the removal of the rubbish when the Council eventually cleans up the area.”
“I have no problem with people who choose to live an itinerant life so long as they conduct themselves with consideration for others, make a genuine attempt to have their children educated and pay the same taxes as the rest of us do. Those who do not get no sympathy from me. Sadly most of the travellers who camp in Luton care for nothing and nobody but themselves. The Council needs to get its act together, move them on quickly and make it difficult for them to return. Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that they would not come if local residents stopped giving them paid work”