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Councillor calls for council to take action to stop travellers

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth visited the West Holmes field on Saturday morning

A district councillor has called for Bradford Council to take action to stop travellers setting up camp at the riverside in Ilkley.

Travellers moved onto West Holmes field over the Easter bank holiday weekend which prompted a number of comments and complains from residents.

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth said: " The numbers of resident contacts I received over the 48 hrs of Easter holidays was quite exceptional. These were not only from the properties directly abutting West Holmes field but also from a wider area of town.

"Concerns about the wild behaviour of racing chariots and horses along footpaths to the general total disregard for property and annexing of a beautiful spot of our town. I visited the site on the Saturday morning in early hours and felt concerns regarding the non compliance ,it seemed to me ,of Covid regulations. The field by this time had not only the Traditional Romany type caravans but also modern vans but lots of little tents erected over the field. There had been “some attempt” to secure the site by Bradford council after last year but this proved woefully unsuccessful. The legal notice of removal was initiated but the time lag ( known full well by the travellers ) gives adequate space for a free holiday break in our wonderful town ,abusing our facilities."

Cllr Hawkesworth added: "And sure enough the site was left for others to clear. Damage was perpetrated on the football field and general appalling mess plus the broken vandalised lock on the “gate”. I have expressed my view strongly to Bradford Parks. A solution to make this area secure must be found. Regrettably I do not think Public Rights Protection Order over - rides the rights of travellers.

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