‘A weight has been lifted’

RESIDENTS are relieved after travellers who pitched-up just one-metre away from a development of new homes left. On the Monday, the Gazette revealed how four caravans and two cars had parked up on the Gosbecks Farm estate, next to Cunobelin Way, Colchester. It soon transpired a family of travellers, who also had two scrap vehicles, three vans, a tow-truck and lots of dogs, had illegally set-up camp on the pavement.

Over five days the group accumulated piles of bagged rubbish. A Colchester Council spokesman said: “The travellers moved off and council officers have since been in attendance to clean the site.”

One homeowner, who asked to remain anonymous, says the Gosbecks Farm community can now relax. She said: “We all feel so relieved the travellers have moved on, it is a great weight that has been lifted off our shoulders. “Whilst the travellers did make some effort to tidy up after themselves, there was a large pile of rubbish bags and other litter scattered around.

“Damage has also been done to the grass verges where some of the vehicles got stuck when trying to leave.” The camp se-up on Friday was just six-foot from the residents’ front doors. Dogs are said to have barked constantly during their stay and residents were too frightened to leave their homes.

As soon as Colchester Council was made aware it instructed the Essex Countywide Travellers Unit to take action. 'A weight has been lifted' “We would like to thank the council, in particular the Essex Countywide Travellers Unit for their swift response and action,” added one resident.

“Our local councillors, Sue Lissimore and Pauline Hazell, have also been of great assistance during this time and we are very grateful to them. “Together with the council, we need a plan to be put in place to ensure that this can never happen again.” A Colchester Council spokesman, however, said the authority must find a balance.

He said: “The council is currently auditing its outdoor spaces with a view to increasing security at some sites to help prevent unauthorised activity, protecting both biodiversity and accessibility to residents, community groups and visitors. 

“However, the council must achieve a balance and cannot permanently bar access to all the land it owns in such a way as to prevent unauthorised encampments.

“We continue to work closely with the police and ECTU, including taking court action when necessary, in order to deal with the problem of unauthorised encampments wherever they arise in the borough.”