Dorset petition against Lansdowne Gypsy site 'derogatory'

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A petition against a proposed traveller site in Bournemouth has been called "derogatory" by the National Romany Rights Association.

The protest in Lansdowne comes amid Dorset-wide plans for about 100 permanent sites the county is duty-bound to find over the next 15 years.

Campaigners said that bad experiences with traveller sites in the past has led to "insecurity".

On Wednesday Bournemouth council agreed to consult the public on site options.

'Nonsense'

Alex De Freitas, who organised the petition against a site in Park Road, Lansdowne, said residents and businesses were "concerned".

She added: "We already host the homeless shelters, drug and alcohol centres, we have two soup kitchens and a huge student population.

"This is far too much weight on Landsdowne."

Dorset Gypsy Basil Burton, 89, who heads the National Romany Rights Association, said:

"Hindsight is a marvellous thing. Had I known in 1942 that my people would be treated like this I would have been a conscientious objector.

"I fought in the war for these people, and this is how they treat us.

"It's nonsense and it's derogatory."

Poole Borough Council approved plans for its proposed sites on Tuesday night and has asked residents to suggest other appropriate locations.

A dozen sites in west Dorset, including two at Beaminster and one in Bridport, have also been proposed.

Under the Housing Act 2004 authorities have an obligation to identify sites suitable for the Gypsy and traveller community in a particular area.

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