Travellers begin second week of occupation

Unauthorised traveller encampment on a verge alongside Bradley Stoke Way.

Travellers at an illegal encampment alongside Bradley Stoke Way have today begun their second week of occupation, despite being given 24 hours to leave the site on Tuesday last week.

Four caravans and a number of other vehicles moved onto the roadside verge near Primrose Bridge last Monday morning. They were joined by a fifth caravan a few days later.

Bradley Stoke town councillors were told last week that its was “anticipated that the caravans would move [off] either on Wednesday or Thursday,” but the predicted departure failed to materialise.

On Friday (20th June), Cllr Ben Walker, who has been vigorous in his condemnation of the encampment, tweeted that he had been led to understand that it would be “dispersed within the next couple of days”, but there was no sign of an imminent departure this evening, three days later.

Also on Friday, local MP Jack Lopresti issued a statement saying he was “astonished” that South Gloucestershire Council (owners of the land being illegally occupied) was “refraining from pursuing legal action to remove the travellers”.

A statement provided to The Journal by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) on Friday afternoon said simply:

“We issued a formal notice informing the travellers that they have no right to be on the land and requesting they leave. This is a precursor to legal action.”

More than a hundred comments on the story have been left by Journal readers on our website and Facebook page, with the majority being critical of the travellers and/or the council’s/police’s apparent lack of action in removing them. A small number of commenters have condemned the more extreme views as racist and/or bigoted, while two (Judi and Jennie) report that they have (separately) visited the travellers on the site and found them “polite and welcoming”, adding that the area appeared “clean and tidy”.

An allegation by a town councillor that the nearby Aldi supermarket had been the victim of a “looting” raid by travellers from the site was greeted with surprise by the duty manager at the store today (Monday 24th), although he said he would have to check with colleagues before giving a definitive response.

An assertion by the same councillor that travellers have been banned from the Hollow Tree public house, was, however, confirmed by the manager there. The ban was invoked after a group of around 30 travellers continued to “party” in the pub garden after closing time on Friday night, consuming their own drinks and playing loud music. The group is said to have been abusive to staff leaving the premises, urinated over the windows of the pub and left behind a large amount of litter that had to be cleared up by staff the following day.

UPDATE (6pm Tuesday 24th June):

Statement from Avon and Somerset Police:

We are committed to maintaining a safe neighbourhood for both the settled and the travelling community and are patrolling the area regularly.

We have had a report of anti-social behaviour at the Hollow Tree pub. Although we attended the pub, the matter was dealt with by the landlord, who has banned the individuals concerned. We have been made aware of the ban in case of any further issues.

We have had no increase in reported crime and the threshold has not been met for us to use our powers under the legislation to move the travellers on. The travellers are a family group with young children and have been in the area for the past few weeks. They have left their earlier sites in Filton, Cribbs Causeway and Aztec West clean and tidy and we have had no increase in reported crime in any of these areas.

The matter is currently being dealt with by South Gloucestershire Council which has issued a notice for the travellers to leave.

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  1. I think it’s a disgrace that they are still there. They do not contribute to society by way of council tax and all the other taxes we have to pay and yet we are the ones that will end up footing the bill for any damage they cause. The site is an eyesore and they need to understand they are not entitled to pitch up wherever they feel like.

  2. Because they know their rights and are probably using them in my experience it seems to take awhile.. Have to say I was surprised by the tone of one of the comments from one of our Councillors in dealing with this matter regardless if what he was saying was true which in most part it appears to be. Cllr Ben Walker seems to doing all he can but a statement from SGC wouldn’t go a miss…or maybe I’ve missed it?? There used to be travellers at BS Leisure Centre a few years ago and they were there ages.

  3. Just read the article again and there has been a statement from SGC last week, but an updated progress report from them would be good!

  4. Cllr Walker is an opportunist and he thinks he can be above the law. If South Glos is taking a long time to deal with that matter, it is maybe because laws are wrong in this country and maybe they should be changed. But all the racist comments are not helping the cause I’m afraid. Also maybe there is more important problem than this one. I wish UKIP was as strong dealing with child poverty, elderly people needing to work when they are 70’s-80’s, people can’t afford to pay electricity bill, but not: let’s blame the travellers and foreigners for everything…Easy target!

    I think travellers shouldn’t be allowed to go wherever they want, but also we can’t start a hate campaign because this is not the way. This happened in Germany in the 30’s (before the 2nd World War) and we have seen the result..and to be honest some post and tweets of UKIP remind me a lot the dark hours of Germany before the World War.

  5. @Henry not sure why you are turning this into a political debate to be honest, there’s a couple of comments on this piece about how Cllr Walker is dealing with it…which seems to be in a fair and respectful manner, I hadn’t even heard of the other Councillor and had to google him to check out who he is, but I was not impressed by the tone of his comment especially as he is a Councillor within this community. This nomadic way of life is a lifestyle choice of these travellers nobody is making them do it and they should be able to park up in designated areas but these travellers are parking on council land unlawfully…they are certainly not stupid there I’m sure they realise how long it will take. I’ve no evidence of them law breaking and can only go on hearsay I’m afraid and holding my own judgement. Where are all these racist comments?

  6. Extract from statement made by Avon and Somerset Police:

    “We have had no increase in reported crime and the threshold has not been met for us to use our powers under the legislation to move the travellers on.”

    The full statement has been appended to the article above.

  7. Maddie, you should read previous post on the BradleyStoke Journal. Some comments are extremely offensive, even a comment from the famous UKIP man is not nice for a politician. Obviously this is my opinion. I agree the travellers shouldn’t be here, but come on let’s the law deal with it and there is more important matter in my opinion!

  8. Either way they are not meant to be their. So they have kept the site clean and tidy SO WHAT !! This will now open up that the Bradley Stoke area is a soft touch. And I’m sure that this will now be a problem and in the future, because of this. Which will involed more and more travellers. “They are not welcome”, other travellers sites will welcome them. Why haven’t they used them?

    Looking forward to the report from the council on how much this will cost the tax payer.

    South Glous you have very disapointed residence over this..very very poor acting on your point.

  9. @Henry. I take your point…but is there any excuse for a Councillor calling the Council/Police gutless or useless or calling commenters “genteel, twee, do gooders for expressing their opinion…how is this helping things? By the way I’m not sure which Councillor you are talking about but I’m not getting into a debate about them, Councillor Walker is dealing with this in a way I support end of.

  10. This may be unpopular but given the shortage of legal traveller sites in the local area and the whole country I think we should be more tolerant. Having been past the site several times I never saw any issues, the site was tidy and young children were present. Whilst the family should move on in time this doesn’t feel to me like a crisis or something meriting emergency action by police or council. So long as our visitors are causing no trouble and presuming they will move on in a few weeks it sounds like the council are taking the right approach.

  11. Tolerance is one thing, but putting pressure on the local people by looting Aldi, causing mischief in the local pub leading to them urinating on their windows, bullying local kids and attempting to get their bikes, cutting down the woodland to build a fire beside the road and apparently discarding their ‘waste’ in the bushes is sure to wind up even the most tolerant of locals.

    It’s amusing to see everyone debating racial discrimination here. I for one haven’t seen them or spoken to them, nor have I actually heard anyone mention what race they actually are. ‘Traveler’ is not a race. For all I know they are born as UK nationals. If I were to pitch a tent on the local police stations lawn, cut down one of their trees for firewood, urinate on their window, try to steal one of their bikes and loot their lunch trolley I am positive that I would be moved on by absolute force. That is unless I call myself a traveler and then I have immunity?

    I for one have no issue with these people personally, but their reputation has been proven in the mere week that they have been here therefore I am not entirely willing to pay my council tax until they are moved on. If there is a problem with this, so I’ll take up residence on a local field, seeing as it appears you can get away with anything by doing so.

  12. bandicoot, please if there is any trouble we are in country with law and police. Let them doing their job. We can’t be above the law. Learn the history and check what happened in Germany, Italy and Spain when some people thought they could be above the law.

    On the other hand, as UKIP is always talking about taxpayer money, don’t forget that WE all fund political party with our money, and UKIP is getting a lot from the E.U. So, why on earth ,there is somebody from UKIP (or I am wrong?) standing on the bridge by Aldi watching all day the travellers. Really? As a councillor he hasn’t got anything better to do? There is young people without jobs or can’t survive with pathetic jobs on zero hour contract, there is people that have to choose to heat or to eat, there is elderly people being beaten at hospitals etc…, there is huge waiting list at the NHS, but…it is obviously a much better political choice to stay on a bridge. He is just showing that he is a pathetic political leader.
    The situation is extremely funny, and shows that this country needs better POLITICAL LEADERS

  13. With regard to the alleged “looting” incident at the Aldi store in Bradley Stoke, a police spokesperson told The Journal: “We have had no report of any sort of incident at the store since Monday 16th June.”

  14. Henry…. Before you go any further with your embarrassing lies cllr walker isn’t standing on the bridge watching them. He can actually see them from his front room window. I’m sure you’d be kicking up a stink if u had that as a view as we’ll?? This nothing to do with politics. It’s people like you who create the bad press on these councillors who are trying to get things sorted. Ben walker is just your average joe that wants the best for people. I don’t see john Ashe doing anything? Isn’t he the mayor of this town now??? The police haven’t done a thing about this so I suggest before spouting, get your facts right!!!!!

  15. Km, I have a lot of default as any other person, but I never lie and have a lot of principle. If I am telling you that this morning I have seen somebody that could be the exact twin brother of your average Joe Ben Walker on that bridge looking at the travellers, is because I have seen him. Maybe he has a twin brother. Next time, I will stop my car, and take a picture. You know, I don’t really care about what he is doing. If he wants to be the big man here, good for him. If he wants to be the Mayor, good. If he can convince enough people to vote for him even better. I can wait for UKIP to win the General election and to start their programme…. Then I will write here and say: I told you so! As I said next time I will take a picture. And you are right, before writing things we need proof.

  16. @ Bandicoot, I think you find that you are wrong, travellers are indeed an ethnic minority and have protection against discrimination. In regard to the alleged Aldi incident you are treading on thin ground as nothing has been proved or reported to the police??

  17. So more Travellers have arrived I guess word is getting out that Bradley Stoke is a good option as nobody does anything to move them on.

    I would like to know how bad things have to get before they are moved on. Having their illegal encampment on the side of a busy road is neither safe for them and their children or for passers buy. One of the travellers pulled out infront of vehicles the other day which could have caused an accident. My fear is if the authorities don’t do anything soon vigilantes could try to move them on and someone could get hurt as it appears feelings are running high.

    What I really don’t understand is if they are travellers why don’t they do exactly that and travel?

  18. It is easy to jump to conclusions with only comments here as a reference :/

    As I said, I have nothing against them personally, but in the past I have had experience of some travelers causing a lot of trouble in local communities.

  19. bandicoot,cw,KM, what I have said since the beginning is that, this case is extremely difficult. They shouldn’t be here by law, so now let’s the law do the job and remove them. We cannot be above the law, and cw we can’t accept vigilantes because private police is still illegal in this country. I know that travellers have bad reputation but so far there is no report of bad behaviour. We have to be careful and frankly the attitude of some councillors is not helping the situation. A politician should be here to ask people to keep calm and ask for the authorities to do their jobs. If Bradley Stoke has to be come a no law land with private police….it won’t attract a lot investors. And it looks like that all the Aldi incident didn’t happen according to the police…so we have to be very careful! Nothing is white or black, there is a lot of grey and we have to deal with each situation with calm. Thanks we are not in America and we don’t have guns!

  20. Why is it difficult Henry? They are breaking the law and have been served a notice to leave which they ignored.

    The law has failed to move them on proving their impotence in the face of the easiest of jobs.

    How long do you want to give the “authorities” to remove these travelers then?

    BTW, do you come from France? I see little tolerance or calm from the French when dealing with gypsies.

  21. Well said Henry. There are far too many people jumping in to blame them for every ill. The police have already stated that there has been no increase in reported crime in any of the places they have camped before and their site is clean and tidy. It looks much tidier than the state of the jubilee field after the recent festival.
    Yes they shouldn’t be there, but would someone like to suggest where they can park up? We have no sites available.

  22. anon-e: Thanks god we don’t have to agree with everything that happen in different countries in the world. Also I think there is situation that take months to be solved by courts, so come on since day one everybody wants to go to war.

  23. I am sure that all our councillors are concerned about the traveller situation, but most will do what they can to move them on without making a song and dance about it as Cllr Walker does. Quiet diplomacy is the way to move travellers on, not tweets and comments to wind up residents, some of who are posting rubbish on this site.

    The important thing is that when they leave the “access ramp” where they accessed the current site is ditched so there can be no repeat of the problem again

  24. It’s quite amusing how everyone is getting so wound up about it whilst our visitors are having a lovely time parking in a nice spot with the awning out, sunshine for the hanging baskets, near to a shopping centre, pub and leisure centre, they will be moved on eventually to create the same situation else where!

  25. Henry I was not condoning vigilantes purely stating that as the feeling is running high and some people seem to feel the authorities are doing nothing and that certain mindsets might take it on themselves to try move them on. I would not want anyone to get hurt be them travellers or settled. I have had bad experiences with travellers in the past but you cannot tar them all with the same brush. I personally would like them moved as it is not the safest place for them to be as I believe they have children. It also gives a bad impression to people visiting the area.

  26. Is it just me or has the general vibe of posts drastically changed since the initial arrival of the travellers? It was all ‘dirty’, ‘thieving’, ‘scum’ at the start. Now, after none of these things has actually happened, people seem to be calmly saying they would like them to be moved on.

    Quite refreshing and much more like the people I’ve met in this town.

  27. Much as I do not agree with the actions of the travellers Johnboy is right. The council must make sure they or others cannot return to the land. I seem to recall travellers on this land a few years back.
    As far as criticising the police for inaction frankly this is no more than a civil trespass at this present time. When they are required by law to leave then its the councils responsibility and the police are there to prevent a breach of the peace. Moving them on is only going to disperse the problem to somewhere else. If they fail to go what are the police supposed to do arrest the adults, take the kids into care,kennel the dogs, impound vehicles and property for what?-a civil trespass. It would require i would think a vast amount of police resources. Where are they going to come from as we don’t see them around anyway.
    Johnboy has had hit the nail on the head a little bit of diplomacy is required and not some of the crackpot actions suggested by councillors and others in this forum. The council may need to clear up the land but then thats what they have to do everyday with litter,fly tipping.damage,pollution and graffiti created by some residents of this town. Doesn’t seem to be much fuss about the individuals who cause this sort of any social behaviour.

  28. Hopefully no more crackpot suggestions needed, Sadly Bloke… just heard that some caravans have left… not sure if this correct though !

  29. Chris dlM I agree. Some comments (especially on the first post) were showing a not very nice side of Bradley Stoke. And obviously the UKIP councillor comments didn’t help. But for UKIP is business as usual. Diplomacy, calm, is the key in any situation. All of this showed me how rumours can be dangerous. Bradley Stoke is a nice place to live with family. And as Sadly Bloke wrote: it is true that in some areas of Bradley Stoke I can see bottles on the floor, rubbish and graffiti..and I don’t think this is because of the travellers.
    Anyway, enjoy the day… we should talk about the weather instead. It has been amazing lately! We should organise a giant BBQ and talk about all of this, in a nice way of course!

  30. Signs of activity at the traveller encampment this morning. One caravan is hitched to a pickup. Preparing to move off or making space for new arrivals?

    Traveller caravans at an illegal encampment alongside Bradley Stoke Way.

  31. No movement at present (1pm) although South Gloucs traffic management vehicle parked 100 metres away ??.

    There is no reason however that they could not simply move further down Bradley stoke Way where is a lot of further open space ?

  32. Only five caravans there now. The one on the extreme right in the photo above, i.e. yesterday’s new arrival, has gone.

  33. Hopefully the council will organise some sort of barrier there now so they don’t come back or to prevent new ones arriving

  34. I guess the taxpayer will have to foot the bill for the clean up, there doesn’t look too much from the road but if you look behind the partially demolished hedge there is lots of rubbish, a mattress, a gas bottle, human waste and soiled nappies.

  35. Vacated traveller encampment on Bradley Stoke Way.

    The scene today, after the last traveller caravan departed at around 5pm.

    Left behind on the verge / in the hedge:
    * Equivalent of about 12 bin bags of bagged rubbish
    * Unbagged general waste (enough to fill about one bin bag)
    * Pile of chipboard and other wood
    * Child’s scooter
    * Two rugs
    * Two large red gas cylinders
    * Soil and grass covering a pile of unknown content

    Reported as fly tipping to SGC. Ref No. 109111

    “Thank you for telling us about this problem. We will remove the fly tipping within three working days. If you would like further information please quote your reference number above when contacting us.”

  36. The rubbish left behind on the verge / in the hedge had disappeared by 11am on Friday, presumably collected by South Gloucestershire Council. Contact has been made with the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group to ask if they are planning to assess the extent of any damage to the nature reserve.

  37. Excellent news that posts have been erected quickly by the TOWN COUNCIL’S CONTRACTORS! Thank you to Cllr Walker also, it’s a shame that our visitors had to leave that amount of rubbish as they’ve now provided evidence of what a lot of people were saying…hope there’s not too much damage.been done to the nature reserve also… the story about a lady’s dog who went in there near by where they were and came out covered in human excrement is truly disgusting!!

  38. Maddie I think you have to take time walking around Bradley Stoke. When I read your reply I thought: Travellers are known to be not very “tidy” so I am not so surprised but I thought let’s see what about Bradley Stoke residents. Because when I read some comments about the Travellers last week it is easy to think: Bradley Stoke is an amazing tidy and clean place, and the travellers are coming to damage Bradley Stoke. So Sunday, and this morning I walked around a lot……. of streets. Some of them (I never been before). I took my smartphone and started to take pictures. And guess what: We should be ashamed! Bradley Stoke is not that clean at all, with or without travellers. The most that I have seen on the floor, grass, and road are the following:
    Plastic Bottles (most Coke, Lucozade etc…), Plastic Cups (Costa, KFC), Fruit Snack packaging from Tesco (a lot actually), cans of Redbull, KFC packaging, some nappies, and I found 3 Burger Kings burger packaging. So, I think this is a shame, and travellers are not to blame for that situation. I took exactly 88 pictures and I am sure that I could take hundreds more. On a positive note I am sure that UKIP will now focused their policy on the cleanliness of Bradley Stoke.:) Enjoy the day!

  39. Henry….I do walk around Bradley Stoke quite a lot ..Thank You!!! I said in my comment that it was a shame the travellers had to leave that amount of mess as it only adds fuel to the fire at no point did I say or suggest that they are the only ones making a mess in the area? Also as I’ve not actually been witness to any of this I can only go on hearsay and stories on here but always keeping to my own judgement?! Like I’ve said though it’s only hearsay but human excrement in the hedge is nothing I’ve come across before and hopefully never will in Bradley Stoke… but maybe when you are about and about taking pictures you may find some….but hopefully not!!!! Thanks for your reply and enjoy your day too.

  40. Henry, I hope you put those photos to good use by posting them, along with their location, to South Glos Council via and also to BSTC who employ a street cleaner.

    I despair at those who consider their littering to be acceptable behaviour; civic pride is seemingly non-existent in a small, but very obvious, cross-section of our community.

  41. anon-e-mouse, you are right (you see we can agree on some things)! Sunday I had more time to walk around and I realised that some areas are very dirty because some people don’t have acceptable behaviour.

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