Bid launched to turf out Falkirk’s unwelcome travellers

The gypsy traveller's encampment
The gypsy traveller's encampment

Unwelcome ‘guests’ have pitched up at two grassy areas in Falkirk with caravans and vehicles.

The gypsy-travellers show no sign of moving on, having arrived at Stirling Road playing fields in Camelon before the weekend.

They were followed by a second group who set up camp on Saturday night on a grass verge close to the Falkirk Stadium five-a-side pitches and across from Falkirk fire station.

Peter Eadie, Falkirk Stadium’s chief executive, said: “We have spoken to them and told them that we don’t want them here. Falkirk Council’s welfare people have been on site and spoken to them.

“They are French-speaking and we believe they may be on their way to Lanark. Two of the vehicles left on Tuesday morning and hopefully their friends will follow.”

Falkirk Council operates a travelling people site at Redding Industrial Estate which has 15 hard-standing pitches, each catering for two caravans. This also gives them use of a chalet with washing and toilet facilities, and is connected to electricity.

Councillor Gerry Goldie, housing spokesman, said: “We are aware of these two encampments and taking appropriate action via various channels.

“There are vacancies on the Redding site and the manager has been down to speak to those involved to alert them.

“Our usual course of action is if it is on council-owned land to ask them to move on and if that didn’t work, we would serve a notice on them. But that is a last resort.”

In April 2012, Amnesty International called on the Scottish Government, local authorities and other bodies to do more to support gypsy-travellers.

Statistics from the government revealed there were 2120 people living on council registered and unregistered sites. However, those working with Scottish gypsy-travellers have estimated the population is nearer 20,000 with many living in below standard conditions.

The Scottish Government said between 2005-06 and 2009-10, councils got £5 million towards the improvement and creation of new traveller sites.