Saturday, 28 February 2009

Residents speak out against travellers' site.

Dozens of angry residents have warned of a crime wave if plans for a gypsy and travellers site near Bournemouth hospital are approved.

Sue Bungey, a public governor of the hospital said: "Dorset Police have been cut by 50%, they haven't got the strength and the man power to say to these people you've been on this site for an hour and you've got to leave now."

Ward councillor Jane Montrose is also against the plans: "This new temporary transit site gives police powers to move illegal incursions on within the hour. My concern is once these pitches are full, these illegal conversions can't be moved on anywhere."

The proposed site which is situated on Riverside Avenue is next to a home for retired nurses who are also protesting against the plans.

Mrs Montrose described how elderly women at the nurses home were particularly concerned: "They have come to me and put their objections to me. They are very, very nervous about this site being put in there."

The home was established by former nurse Fanny Thompson in 1934 and is now home to over 50 former nurses; it is also the only home of its kind in the country.

Chris Bridget, a life member of the Nurses Home's League of Friends is worried that it may impact on the future of the home:

"Why should they have people who have very often done unpleasant things in the area or on their doorstep?

"I'm sure that in Bournemouth there must be a better location."

Cllr David Shaw, from the adjacent Strouden Park ward, would like to see the site moved to Canford Arena in Wimborne and away from the nurses' home:

"I'm certainly not for it, all those elderly defenceless people."

Cllr David Smith the Cabinet member for Environment who presented the plans said: "There is no provision in Bournemouth where gypsies and travellers officially have to go.

"They turn up in our borough and just park wherever they want, they go on parks on the seafront and that causes a lot of distress and aggravation to the town."

Mr Smith who was reassuring worried residents at the meetings added: "I personally think it would be wise to give it a go for a year and see what happens.

"If it does turn out to be an unmitigated disaster and they do wreck the site down there and cause a lot of disturbance to the nurses, it shows that it hasn't worked."

Further public meetings are to be held on Tuesday March 3 at the Townsend community centre and on Wednesday March 4 at the Littledown centre.

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