Calls for action as travellers move on

The Travellers encampment in Castle Street.
The Travellers encampment in Castle Street.
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A group of travellers have moved on after pitching up in Ellon - but have prompted fresh calls to establish 
official sites.

Caravans returned to the town last week with five setting up camp in Castlepark 
Industrial Estate.

The encampment in Castle Street brought back unpleasant memories for local people of their visit to Ellon 
last summer.

The debris left then was described as “disgraceful”.

On this occasion the travellers departed by Monday, with little sign of their stay.

But local politicians say there is an urgent need to address the problem.

Councillor Gillian Owen, who was appalled by the mess left last year, said: “I know it is unpopular but locally we do need a Travellers transit site which will curtail these ugly, unauthorised sites popping up wherever the 
Travellers want.

“These sites will be strictly controlled and the police can then work with the council to ensure that Travellers set up a camp within the site and are charged for the services that are provided with.”

Councillor Richard Thomson, who intervened to have barriers installed at Balmacassie, said he was pleased they appeared to be making an impact.

He added: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve seen fewer groups of travellers in Ellon so far this summer now that we have the barriers both at Balmacassie and the Park and Ride

“Barriers are only part of the solution, though. The fact is that we need to identify more official sites throughout Aberdeenshire for travellers.

“That way, camps can be managed properly and used to cut down on the incidences of unauthorised encampments which can cause such distress and inconvenience to others.”

SNP colleague Councillor Rob Merson said: “Unfortunately, this situation has no prospect of a meaningful resolution

until such time as the Administration brings forward a practicable plan to implement a number of temporary halting sites across Aberdeenshire - and not just one at Aikey Brae.”

Councillor Isobel Davidson said a solution was urgently needed.

She added: “This time the Travellers only stayed a short time, however it is likely that more will arrive over the summer.

“We really need to find a solution and identifying permanent sites will help.

“I hope we can bring a number of these forward soon.”

A local resident, who declined to be named, said people were fed up with travellers continually returning to the town.

She added: “Something needs to be done. You just don’t know where they’re going to turn up next.

“People are tired of this happening every summer. Why should we have to put up with it.”

It is understood Aberdeenshire Council were preparing to begin legal proceedings to have the latest encampment removed but the travellers had gone by Monday.