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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
30,000 to stop travellers' camp
Travellers in Christchurch in 2005
The council has a duty to provide sites, said a travellers' group
A council which spent 30,000 on new security measures to keep travellers out of its town over Easter has been branded "unhelpful and wasteful".

Christchurch Council spent the cash putting up barriers in car park and "improving security" in public parks.

Councillor John Lofts said: "In past years the groups of Travellers who have descended on Christchurch have caused us a lot of difficulties."

But a Travellers' group said it was a "shocking waste of taxpayers' money".

We thought it important to invest some money to try and put a stop to the problem before it gets out of hand
Councillor John Lofts

Emma Nuttal, unit manager, at Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) said: "To waste 30,000 of taxpayers' money on these unnecessary measures is really unhelpful.

"According to the government, councils are under an obligation to assess the need for Traveller sites in its area and allot land for that need.

"Christchurch Council has a duty to meet the need of Travellers in the area. What they are doing is just moving the issue around, not dealing with it."

Ms Nuttal said that if the council could have saved themselves money by providing a Traveller site, because the government would pay for its construction and the Travellers would then pay council tax when they moved in.

Mr Lofts, in a statement about the new measures, said: "The clean-up operations after they [the Travellers] have left have also been very expensive, not to mention the effect on the health and safety of the general public.

"We thought it important to invest some money to try to put a stop to the problem before it gets out of hand."

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06 Mar 06 |  Berkshire
Council refuses travellers' plan
18 Aug 04 |  Berkshire
Council set to evict travellers
19 Aug 04 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Road closed to house travellers
17 Aug 04 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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