A city councillor has hit back at claims from a travellers’ organisation who said a trail of destruction left at playing fields was a result of a lack of sites for encampments.
The travellers flytipped rubbish and even burned out a car on Thurning Avenue playing fields in Stanground last week.
But a spokesman for Friends, Families and Travellers, a group representing travellers, said: “Unauthorised encampments such as these exist due to a failure of local authorities to provide enough sites to stop on.
“If Peterborough had provided sites these encampments would not exist, and homeless travellers would have sites to live on from where they could access adequate education, health, running water, refuse collection, and pay rent and council tax.”
Stanground south cllr Chris Harper said: “We have to look at pitches, but there is no excuse for leaving a site like this. I don’t accept there can be any reason for this, causing unnecessary work and expense.
“Credit should go to Amey for doing a fantastic job clearing the park, but they should not have had to do it.”
Peterborough City Council leader cllr John Holdich added: “Peterborough is six pitches short, but there is no excuse for rocking up on a piece of land and leaving a mess. There are travellers who leave rubbish in bin bags for us to pick up. The ones who leave a mess are the ones that mean people don’t want pitches in their community.”
In his column for the Peterborough Telegraph this week, Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said providing more pitches would be a ‘knee jerk reaction.’ He added: “I’m unconvinced that the existing permanent sites in the city are well run, managed according to the rules most of the settled community accept as a given and indeed properly policed.”