By Henry Willis
A THORN in the side for town officials, the age-old predicament of what to do with the travellers in Brighton and Hove keeps on rearing its ugly head.
This summer we have seen travellers set up camp in some of the most picturesque settings in the city; on Hove seafront, Waterhall playing fields near Devils Dyke and they have been prolific in the Peacehaven and Telscombe area.
It is not just in Brighton and Hove though that they have cause problems, cropping up in Mid Sussex too as they have proved prevalent in Cuckfield, Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint, among other areas.
Problems have been posed by the travelling community that show it is more than just Nimbyism that puts fear into residents when they emerge nearby. In Burgess Hill there were a series of harrowing incidents set upon those living near newly-surfaced sites.
Residents were aggrieved to have lost pets because of appalling behaviour from a select few who disgraced the travelling community. Dangerous dogs were set upon cats with malicious intent, all animals attacked suffered serious injuries, had to be put down or are missing presumed dead.
Police continue to serve Section 61 notices that force travellers to move from land as camps persist on moving elsewhere and prove to be a headache for authorities in different places.
District councillors have called for tougher powers to be introduced to clamp down on travellers setting up camp as they please. Speaking to the Mid Sussex Times, Councillor Anne Jones said: “They’re costing us a fortune. I’m really fed up because they can’t do this sort of this in Ireland and they can’t do it in France.
“Why can they do it in the UK? The public don’t seem to have rights on this matter.
“This has got to change. We get squeezed on council tax and have to spend a lot of money getting travellers moved on.
“I want people to write to their MP to get the law changed so something can be done quicker to move these people on.”
The most recent public outcry came when travellers at Waterhall playing fields outline their intent for a lengthy stay when a permanent greenhouse structure was erected on the site that accommodates 14 lived-in dwellings and 14 other lodging vans.