Residents’ relief

Whitehouse Cresent residents (left to right) Stephen Maitland, Craig Ball, Barrie Slater, Mary Hughes and Joan Slater, at the site of the Fly Tipping and to the side of parked travellers caravans.
Whitehouse Cresent residents (left to right) Stephen Maitland, Craig Ball, Barrie Slater, Mary Hughes and Joan Slater, at the site of the Fly Tipping and to the side of parked travellers caravans.

RESIDENTS say they are relieved after travellers moved from an temporary encampment that was close to their homes.

The encampment had been pitched up on land near Whitehouse Crescent, in Shotton Colliery, for the last five weeks.

But last Thursday morning, residents in the street woke to find that the camp had gone.

However, they noticed that the travellers had left behind heaps of rubbish where their caravans had been.

The mess was soon cleared up – at a cost of £184 to Durham County Council.

Local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Steve Maitland, who has lived in the street for 39 years, said: “It feels fantastic that the travellers have shifted.

“It’s the quickest stay they have had, as they were here for about five months last year.

“The council had said with it being on private land they couldn’t do anything.

“When they pulled away, they left a pile of rubbish early on Thursday, but the council were really quick to clear it, and I’m really happy about that.”

A multi-agency meeting between Peterlee Police and the council’s traveller liaison service, environmental health team and local councillors was held last week, but this was to discuss welfare issues.

Carole Payne, head of early intervention and involvement at the county council, said: “Durham County Council has not issued directions to leave as the encampment was on privately owned land and not land owned by the local authority.

“We are currently working with the business community to look at ways of preventing future unauthorised encampments.”

It took three members of council staff two hours to clear the rubbish left and the clean-up cost includes vehicle hire.

There had been 11 caravans at the site, but Mr Maitland said last year about 35 turned up.