Clear-up will cost fortune as travellers reduce site to a muddy mess
Reporter: HELEN KORN
Date online: 12 August 2014
TAXPAYERS are facing a clean-up bill of thousands of pounds, after travellers wrecked Oldham Edge.
More than 30 caravans, tractors and diggers have been parked up since Thursday morning with no sign of budging.
Even delivery men have been spotted bringing takeaways in the early hours to the site — which is in a “horrific” state.
The travellers had previously been moved on from Sainsbury’s car park in Oldham town centre.
Last night, police issued notice that action will be taken to remove them from Oldham Edge under police powers.
But residents are fuming as they claim the council told them this had already happened last week.
Oldham Council says it had only issued a warning letter on Friday as it “did not have the resources” to deal with the incident over the weekend.
The Whitehouse Inn, which had to cancel two of its weekend functions, has been keeping its door closed to unfamiliar faces.
One customer reported travellers banging on the pub’s windows, demanding the postcode so that more travellers could find the area. Motorbikes were driven through the middle of footballers in training on the pitch on the top field.
Joan Hague, landlady at the Whitehouse, said: “When the officers served the notice last night, they opened the gates, left the site and then more caravans came in! It’s ridiculous!
“I was told by the council that the enforcement notice had already been given. I’m absolutely disgusted with the whole thing. They’ve been flytipping too — they’ve ruined the Edge.”
Councillor Barbara Brownridge said: “We’re appalled at the damage that has been done to Oldham Edge and will not tolerate it.
“We issued a letter to the travellers on Friday stating that we would take action to remove them if they didn’t leave of their own accord.
“Forcible eviction requires substantial resources, which were unavailable. We continue to work closely with GMP who have now issued notice that action will be taken to remove them under police powers.
“The local community — including neighbouring residents and businesses — has every right to be angry about the damage that has occurred.
“Although it is notoriously difficult to deliver speedy prosecutions for damage against individuals who have no fixed address, Oldham Council and GMP take a zero tolerance stance against this kind of anti-social behaviour.”
The council pledges — once the site has been vacated — to clear up the mess left behind as quickly as they can.
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