Councillor welcomes move to solve traveller problem at site

Councillor Richard Thomson has welcomed the  latest developments at Balmacassie.
Councillor Richard Thomson has welcomed the latest developments at Balmacassie.

An Ellon counclillor has welcomed steps being taken to prevent travellers setting up camp on a woodland site.

Councillor Richard Thomson has been pressing for a solution to illicit encampments at Balmacassie.

Aberdeenshire Council have installed temporary barriers with permanent ones set to follow.

Councillor Thomson said: “The last group of travellers at Balmacassie were the latest in a long line to leave an unacceptable mess behind for others to clear up.

“I’ve been trying to get a solution to the problem of encampments on this site since I was elected, so I was delighted when Aberdeenshire Council agreed that permanent barriers should be installed around this turning area.

“While the gates and bollards to do this are currently on order, I’m pleased that the council has now taken interim steps to block this part of the road off to vehicles, which should make it impossible for all but the most determined to drive past in the meantime.”

He added: “Blocking off land like this doesn’t solve the problem of the lack of properly maintained sites for travellers to go to.

“However, there is general agreement in Ellon that the community woodland is an unacceptable place for travellers to pitch up.”

Meanwhile, Ellon Community Council are urging residents to consider whether to employ members of travelling community.

Earlier this year the community council urged the local authority to enforce the code of conduct that travellers must adhere to or face immediate action to secure their eviction.

They also suggested that the council levy charges on such encampments for the services provided and impose penalties on travellers if sites are left in a state similar to Balmacassie.

The council claim police and the local authority appear reluctant to take enforcement action despite “obvious cases” of antisocial behaviour taking place.